Key Executive Officer event: Leadership lessons learned on the trail of William Lewis Manly

CEObuilder and Bank of American Fork invite you to join us on Friday, September 6, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m. for a presentation by Dr. Michael Kane, General Manager for Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort. His presentation will focus on Manly’s experiences that are a model of curiosity, tenacity, integrity and compassion—valuable leadership lessons for anyone facing the challenges of life and business. You can also join the conversation on Twitter at #ceobuilder or LinkedIn.

Within the western migration of a newly forming America, thousands of men, women, and children bravely sacrificed all in the hopes of reaching the new lands of freedom and opportunity. During the mid-1800s, a young 29-year-old ’49er, William Lewis Manly, was en route to the goldfields of California.

Traveling across the open lands known as the Utah Territory in 1850, William came to a crossroads of land, water and life. Following the emigrant trail to the banks of the Green River, Manly and six other men decided to risk all and venture down the Green River in the hope of reaching California by way of the uncharted river.

The significance of the decision to float a river rather than traveling on the established emigrant trail created a new chapter in American western history. Twenty years later, in 1869, and with the financial support of the U.S. government, Major John Wesley Powell’s expedition followed much of Manly’s route down the Green River. For his journey, Powell received considerable notoriety and acclaim for hardships endured and environments assessed. Manly’s expedition, however, went largely unnoticed. Even so, it was—in fact—the first expedition by an American within these remote regions of the Green River.

In 1894, Manly published the book, Death Valley in ’49, recording the events of his journey from memory. Michael Kane’s research as an historian and outdoorsman was dedicated to documenting Manly’s expedition, while understanding his thoughts, relationships with others, and the environment he encountered. He did this through comprehensive research of Manly’s writings and the journals and historical accounts of his contemporaries, as well as following Manly’s stated path down the Green River and over the Utah deserts. This made it possible for Michael to corroborate the landmarks Manly described—and thereby validate his record.

Michael’s expedition embarked on August 13, 2006, floating a distance of 430 miles on the Green River in wooden canoes similar to the watercrafts that Manly constructed and described. This was followed by walking 175 miles to Hobble Creek/Fort Utah, in the same months of the calendar season.  Michael’s on-site research has been augmented by over seven years of detailed analysis, and provided the opportunity to identify all aspects of the 1849 Manly expedition.  Retracing Manly’s expedition first hand, created a window of opportunity to look into the past—and with accepted scientific methods—gives an accurate appreciation of the man’s accomplishments, failures, and convictions. 

While Michael’s research serves to verify the adventure of this intrepid explorer, perhaps the greatest benefit of his academic efforts have been to learn about the character of William Lewis Manly. Manly’s experiences serve as a model of curiosity, tenacity, integrity and compassion—valuable leadership lessons for anyone facing the challenges of life and business. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote: “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us!”

This event will be held at Bank of American Fork Financial Center Conference Room, 6 West Main Street, American Fork. Please RSVP by emailing  or by calling 801-642-3139.

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