Who is Jan and what makes him the best choice for Regional Chair?
Jan is a successful international business executive with expertise in strategic planning and business development. He excelled in industry ( including Babcock and Wilcox, GE Water), and high-tech sector and in the startup community. Jan also served two terms as a Waterloo City Councillor where he found his true calling.
Jan was instrumental in many achievements while on Waterloo City council, but he is most remembered for his leadership to bring financial stability back to the City of Waterloo in the wake of the RIM Park financing debacle. He also played an important leadership role in the establishment of the ‘Laurel Creek Headwaters Environmentally Sensitive Landscape’ (ESL) that protects 5,048 acres of the Waterloo Moraine from future development, a model which was then applied to protect other environmentally sensitive landscapes in the Region. He also stepped up to ensure that a key cultural institution moved forward with a financially sound and sustainable plan to ensure ongoing viability and contribution to the arts in the Region.
After his council term, Jan continued to be involved in City matters, and championed turning Waterloo’s recreational trails into an active transportation trail network reaching all corners of the City of Waterloo. Jan was also Vice Chair on the GRCA board.
Jan was born to Dutch immigrants who came to Canada to build a better life for themselves. His father worked in international business, and encouraged Jan to get his Masters in Business Administration. For years, his mother hosted music concerts in the family home fostering his appreciation for art. Jan learned hard work, the importance of taking initiative and exercising leadership, and also to make time to have fun and celebrate with friends and family.
Jan has lived and worked outside Canada including Europe, Mexico, South Africa, Australia and Taiwan where he studied Mandarin Chinese. These years abroad greatly influenced Jan. He learned to appreciate the different ways that communities live and the values they care about most. He learned that we need to pay attention to those values if we are to create a community that cares about the health and prosperity of its people, that feeds the spirit and that protects the earth that we call home.
Jan's experience as a successful global business executive, his record of achievement on Waterloo Council, his public service and his dedication to the community as a whole have all prepared Jan for the position of Regional Chair.
"Jan is not a career politician, he doesn't owe allegiance to any political party. Nor does Jan have any hidden political agendas or axes to grind with past Municipal councils"
Jan enjoys cross country skiing, having raced as a youth, and is often seen on the trails at Schneider’s Bush after a snowfall. He is a member of the Conestoga Sailing Club where he and Alannah and his son Hendrik participate in races and regattas, sailing his Wayfarer dinghy and enjoying club social events. He recharges by cycling and loves to garden. It’s always a good summer if he can get away for camping and canoeing.