Class of 2013
Leonard Johannes Tanis was born in Scheidam, Netherlands, on January 9, 1959, to Herdika Ter Braak and Nees.
He attended technical school in 1973 and began his career in the family business in 1976 as a welder trainee at Gbr Ter Braak, a maker of confectionery processing equipment. In 1979, Leo was promoted to Process Equipment Installer for confectionery processing lines, and in 1981, he became a Final Commissioning Engineer for candy bar processing equipment.
In 1983, as Installation Engineer, Leo was involved in developing the Ter Braak Static Cooker for gum and jelly masses. The next year, he was promoted to Manager of the Ter Braak Innovation Center, where he was responsible for developing new process designs for the gum and jelly segments.
When Leo’s father Nees retired in 1986, Bepex Hutt bought Ter Braak, and Leo became Manager of Laboratories. That same year, he married Gerry Antoinette Achterbergh; they have three sons: Martijn,Victor and Wouter.
Leo was promoted to Commissioning and Troubleshooting Engineer in 1989; in 1992, he was named Manager of Project, Process and Engineering.
He left the company in 1995 to start his own business, Tanis Consultancy, and with his brother René, he established the Tanis Confectionery & Consultancy Co. in 1996, supplying process production equipment to the industry.
The firm became The Tanis Group in 2006, with Leo as CEO, where he has been joined by his sons, Martijn and Victor. In 2013, The Tanis Group rebranded itself as Tanis Confectionery.
Among his professional achievements, Leo cites as the most important: developing a complete line of equipment for processing gums and jellies; engineering a system for continuous processing of English toffee and caramels; and establishing a sustainable company built on the loyalty of customers and employees.
Supporting the industry, he is a member and treasurer of the European Candy Kettle Club, and a fixture at global industry events.
Leo enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. He is also an accomplished cyclist, and rode up Mont Ventoux, in the south of France, four times in one day to raise funds for the Dutch Cancer Society.