In 1981 Thijs graduated as chemical engineer (bioprocess technology) from the Delft University of Technology. He then started as scientist process development at Gist-Brocades (now DSM), working on fermentation processes for food, enzymes and antibiotics. He moved on to become manager upstream processes at EuroCetus (later Chiron and now Synco Biopartners). He returned to Gist-Brocades as production manager for their penicilin manufacturing plants. In addition, Thijs supported the business development of Gist-Brocades with the acquisition of BioIntermediair (now DSM-Biologics). After four years as director operations in the Fine Chemicals facility of Shell (now Sachem), he started as CEO of the government vaccine manufacturing organization SVM, later merged into the Netherlands Vaccin Institute, were he took the position as general director. From 2007 Thijs became CEO of the Rotterdam based medical diagnostic facility, Star-MDC. As of 2016 Thijs became involved in the start-up of Progress Executive Services where he is now CEO.
In his free time Thijs (1956) loves to cook for his family. You will find him walking with his wife either in his home town Rotterdam, or with his family in rural Thierache. With a number of former colleagues, he is trying to develop a patent in the field of diagnostics and treatment of small cell lung cancer.