Conversations with the Chancellor: Innovation at Work


[Silence] Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
We’re pleased to have John Hayes, the CEO of Ball
corporation with us today at our new aerospace building. Ball
corporation is the world’s largest supplier of recyclable
beverage cans and it’s the parent company of Ball Aerospace
and aerospace industry leader. CU and Ball have a long history
of partnership and today we’re talking with John Hayes about
innovation. John, thanks for being here. It’s great to be
with you Phil. What goes into creating an innovative
organization by Ball? John Hayes, CEO Ball Corp.: Ball
has as such, a long and rich history, it’s 140 years old.
We’ve been in more than 45 different businesses over that
time and I’d say if there’s one thing that differentiates Ball,
we hope and dream and desire that every single person at Ball
feels like they’re part of the ownership of the company and
that’s what really creates the power. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
That’s terrific. And what are, what are some key areas for
innovation? John Hayes, CEO Ball Corp.: If
you’re a company that’s been in 45 plus different businesses,
you’re always being innovative and even though we’re a big
company, we have two or three startups as we speak right now.
As you know with the University of Colorado, we’re launching a
brand new, infinitely recyclable aluminum cups business, right,
ah starting at the football stadiums and we’ll be spreading
in this. We can make production from that and so you know what
creates that, that innovation if you will, giving people
autonomy, authority and giving them the aspiration to actually
be different, be something important because we want to be
around for another hundred and 40 years and that’s how you do
it. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
So what leadership qualities ah should or an organization look
for when hiring? John Hayes, CEO Ball Corp.: I
would say a couple things. Number one, find people who are
curious that have a passion for learning and intellectual
learning because those are the people they’re always going to
try a little bit harder and look a little deeper and really look
and see what’s different. You have to find people you share a
common set of values with that is infinitely important in
today’s world. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
Well that whole issue of curiosity, I talked to the
faculty about that because that’s what makes our faculty
great is their curiosity. John Hayes, CEO Ball Corp.: The
curiosity on college campus is far greater than you find it
everyday walk of life and it just gives you a rhythm. It
gives you an energy, it gives you a motivation. It’s a lot of
fun. And it’s created by the faculty. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
Exactly. Uh, what advice do you have for our graduates? John Hayes, CEO Ball Corp.: So
this is very cliche, but I truly believe it. Find what you do and
find the people you want to do it with. I worked for a company
that we make everything from satellites to beverage cans. If
you thought that I was 18 years old, a freshman in college,
thinking that’s when I didn’t want to do, when I grow up. Of
course it was. And I had no idea. I’m 53 years old. I still
have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. Trialing
different things, not being afraid to make a mistake, not
being afraid of failure when you do have a failure, learn from
it. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
That’s terrific. So CU and Ball where we’ve talked about, we’ve
been partners for such a long time. What value does Ball bring
or Ball get, I should say from partnering with us, John Hayes, CEO Ball Corp.: You
know, we hire over 50 people out of the University of Colorado
each year. Many of them want to stay here. We’re headquartered
here. I really do think the longevity and the sustainability
of our relationship has as much to do with we’re, we’re very
symbiotic and share similar values as I talked about
earlier. And at the same time we push each other. I think about
this, the things we’re doing in sustainability and diversity and
inclusion in STEM education, all of those things are from a
for-profit enterprise perspective and investment and
investment in the community. Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano:
Exactly. And you know, for us, um, I think that our students
really benefit from the work that they do with Ball – uh – as
interns. They get that real world experience that they’re
not going to be able to get in the classroom. And you mentioned
diversity and inclusion, and Ball has been a terrific partner
with us and making sure that underrepresented students had an
opportunity not only to go to school here, but to work and
intern with the corporation like Ball. John Hayes, CEO Ball Corp.: When
the community has a vitality and is thriving, we all win. And
that’s critical. So John, I want to thank you for
your leadership, for your insights, and for being such an
important partner to CU Boulder. Yeah, thank you very much. I
appreciate it. And thank you all for watching and go Buffs.

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