President, DeVry University
Ballheim is a recent immigrant to Queens—from Canada.
What one factor is most important to success?
Integrity. Integrity builds trust with people, and people accomplish the mission of our work, whether that’s personal or business.
What do you look for in an employee?
The same thing, integrity, and for the same reason it’s an important success factor. If we have an organization of people who do what they say and say what they do, that will build trusting relationships between people and among people. And that will help the organization accomplish what it needs to accomplish. It’s far more important than intelligence,
because even people who are slower learners can learn. I’m a big believer in mastery of learning. It’s more important than experience, because people can misapply experience if they don’t have integrity.
What’s the best way to savemoney?
Hire good people with integrity.
What’s the best way to spend money?
Pay good people. If you have good people, and you want to keep them,
pay is part of that formula.
What’s your greatest pleasure?
Watching my two sons develop as people of character.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Feel excitement about my day. I feel lucky; I’m the luckiest man in the
How do you deal with stress?
I work hard to overcome whatever is causing the stress, and I just whittle
away at it.
What one lesson do you hope to pass on to your children?
To be themselves, and to continually work on making themselves better.
How do you bounce back from adversity?
That would be the same answer as how I deal with stress. I just work hard.
I mean there’s no use in complaining. There’s an old saying, “Smile and
the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.” I think you just work hard
at overcoming whatever it is that you’re facing, and make it happen.
What’s your favorite thing about Queens?
Its richness of people. The diversity, the dynamism that comes from
that diversity. It just amazes me. I’m new there; I’ve been there four and a
half months. At DeVry, I walk down the halls—most of our students are
from Queens—and the richness, how people think, the way they act, the
cultures, the languages. It’s fascinating. Ballheim has been with DeVry for
more than 20 years. The DeVry Institute of Technology, located in Long Island
City, is part of DeVry University, one of the largest degree-granting higher education systems in North America.
Ballheim has been active with plenty of public policy and business advisory committees, once serving as president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. He’s also held leadership positions with the Alberta Economic Development Authority, Alberta Roundtable on Climate Change, Alberta Growth Summit and the Alberta Chamber of Commerce. He holds a master’s degree in educational administration at theUniversity of Illinois Graduate