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Songs of the Prairie
November 11, 2014 - January 25, 2015
Morris Gallery of Contemporary Art
Following graduation from Missouri Valley College in 1965, Bill he began working in art and design, later taking a job with a chemical company as trainee in development of nitrogen products. He worked in Louisiana as an off-shore sales representative before being drafted into the U.S. Army. Following time in the service, Manion returned to work in Georgetown, Texas as a drilling foreman and later superintendent of construction projects in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
While working highway projects, Bill developed products and techniques for precision blasting of roadway cuts in mountain areas. He joined Gulf Chemicals to set up a new company produced explosive products for construction and mining in the Rocky Mountain Area. Manion attended the Gulf Management Institute - Carnegie-Mellon. As general manager of Gulf Explosives Co. in Denver, Colo., he led the development of surface and underground blasting products for smooth wall and pre-splitting applications.
Following a period in investment banking, Bill joined Thermex Energy in Dallas, Texas in 1985. In 1988 he started a new firm in Oklahoma City, Okla., merging the operations of three chemical and explosive manufacturing companies. In 1989 Manion became president and CEO of Slurry Explosive Corporation, with offices in Oklahoma City, Okla., and Columbus, Kan. In 2002 Slurry Explosive Corporation was acquired by firms in Nevada and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, merging operations of UTeC Corp, an energetics research company and AMPAC, a manufacturer of composite rocket propellants, forming Energetic Systems, Inc. (ESI). As executive vice president of ESI, he developed government relations for defense contracting and systems to reutilize obsolete military energetic materials for commercial purposes.
In 2004 Manion retired from ESI, developing government relations for a group of companies with interests in demilitarization projects. In 2006 he returned to Missouri and returned to working with art and design.
Through his career Bill Manion has served with several boards and assisted in development of both scholastic and community projects. He assisted in the start-up of the Men’s Arts Council of Arizona and the Cowboy Artists of America exhibit which continue today at the Phoenix Art Museum. He later worked with the development board for the expansion of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla. He continues working today with the Crazy Horse Foundation in Custer, S.D.; is on the scholarship board of the SEE Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio; and has been honored by the International Society of Explosives Engineers for lifetime industry achievement.
Manion designs, cartoons, and the love of fine art have been a part of his life of since high school. The dream of learning to draw and paint showed in air brushed T-shirts in college. Later, his cartoon, “Catch Pen,” laughing with the cowboy life by “Billy Bob” was in rodeo news and western horseman magazines for several years.
Manion’s cartoons and paintings are in collections throughout the country. They can be found in expensive frames as well as thumb tacked to walls on construction sites, mine offices, and in bars from Arizona to Montana.
Moving back to Missouri with a studio overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks, Manion has returned to drawing and designs in oil, acrylic, ink, and charcoal. Major paintings have placed and gained awards in recent juried shows along with original design and character development for wine labels. His paintings are found in galleries in Missouri and Florida.
He is married since 1974 to Elaine Wingo Manion, who is a retired international flight attendant, photographer, and cork artist.