Manie was born in Ermelo, South Africa. Like his father before him, he was born on a Friday the 13th. He was the second of five children, and they now live all over the world. His two sisters live in South Africa, his brother lives in Australia, and his widowed brother-in-law lives in Norway.
Manie’s undergraduate studies were in Civil Engineering, and he graduated cum laude from the University of the Witwatersrand. In addition, he earned a private pilot’s license and ballet teacher credentials from the South African Dancing Teacher Association (SADTA). After his studies, he helped build a road through the western Caprivi strip to fulfill his mandatory South African army service. After working at Keeve Steyn and Partners as a consulting engineer, he left for the United States to pursue his M.S. in Civil Engineering at Purdue University on a Fulbright Scholarship.
After returning to South Africa, he met his wife, Danita. Soon after, he was the Resident Engineer for an Air Force base in Namibia. After returning from Namibia, he worked on the Probabilistic Management of Water Resources and Hydropower Systems. During his time at Purdue, he befriended Sharon deMonsabert, who helped him, his wife, and his firstborn son immigrate to the United States in November 1987. After moving to the United States, he and his wife had two more children.
Manie works as the senior executive vice president for Applied Engineering Management Corporation, which his friend Sharon founded in 1986. He owns a tree farm near Union, West Virginia, and enjoys visiting it on the weekend. Danita and his daughter Tarryn both claim that he makes better steaks than most restaurants.