Meet David Stillman

David Stillman

David Stillman serves as the Assistant Secretary of the Economic Services Administration (ESA) in Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), a position he has held since May 2011.  ESA’s efforts are focused on the reality that Washington’s well-being and prosperity are interconnected with the well-being and prosperity of its people.  Under David’s leadership, ESA launched a unifying goal to reduce poverty by half in a way that eliminates disparities and removes the barriers to opportunity we all need to thrive.

Poverty prevents people from reaching their full potential, reduces overall economic productivity and contributes to numerous societal costs or damages. Together, ESA’s portfolio of programs and services aim to achieve its poverty reduction goal. 

  • Community Services assists low-income people to meet their basic needs and achieve economic security through cash grants to meet foundational needs, access to healthy food, immigration and naturalization services, and targeted employment-focused services.
  • Child Support helps parents and children reach their full potential by helping parents fulfill their responsibility to support their children through increased financial – more than $670 million annually - and medical support. 
  • Financial Recovery collects debts owed to DSHS and other agencies. These agencies use the funds collected – more than $300 million annually – to decrease poverty, promote health, and increase educational and employment opportunities. 
  • Disability Determination provides medical disability determinations for individuals applying for Social Security disability benefits.      

David provides leadership for nearly 4,400 dedicated employees, more than 60 offices located in every corner of Washington and oversees a $2.2 billion dollar biennial budget.  Each day ESA staff provide life transformative services for a customer base of about two million individuals, or one in four Washington residents.  

Prior to accepting his current position, David worked for the Division of Child Support (DCS), beginning as a Support Enforcement Officer 1 and culminating as the DCS Director from 2005 to 2011.   

David participates as a presenter at a variety of national and state conferences and serves on a wide variety of national and state work groups and committees. He is currently a co-lead of Governor Jay Inslee’s Poverty Reduction Work Group and member of the Legislative-Executive WorkFirst Poverty Reduction Oversight Task Force.  Chair of the American Public Human Services Association Board of Directors from 2017 through 2018, he continues a leadership role as Immediate Past Chair.  David is a past President of both the National Child Support Enforcement Association and the Western Interstate Child Support Enforcement Council.

In 2001, David received the Governor’s Distinguished Manager award, the highest recognition for a state government manager.  He received his B.A. from Whitman College and his J. D. from the University of Puget Sound School of Law.