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Michael Wisehart

Director, Arizona Department of Economic Security

Director Michael Wisehart is an experienced leader with over 20 years of progressive responsibility overseeing human services programs within the Arizona Department of Economic Security (ADES) and he is passionately committed to improving the lives of Arizonans across all walks of life. Mr. Wisehart previously served as the Assistant Director for both the Division of Employment and Rehabilitation Services, as well as the Division of Benefits and Medical Eligibility overseeing the SNAP and Cash Assistance programs in Arizona. Over the course of his career, he has served in a variety of other positions within ADES including as the Department’s Chief Financial Officer during the Great Recession, playing key roles within ADES during both the COVID-19 pandemic and the prior recession.

Mr. Wisehart is a strong problem-solver and collaborative leader focused on supporting Arizonans in need while recognizing the important fiduciary responsibility of the Department. He is a champion for process improvement and staff development and focuses on community partnerships and improving the customer experience for ADES clients and stakeholders.

A native Arizonan, Mr. Wisehart has both an MBA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Arizona State University, and he is the proud father of two amazing boys. 


The Starfish Story

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…” I made a difference for that one.”

– Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)