My Career at MI Treasury: JEFF GUILFOYLE

Michigan Department of Treasury
6 min readApr 29, 2024


A staircase leading to the sky and a MI Treasury logo. “My Career at MI Treasury”

Chief Deputy Treasurer Jeff Guilfoyle oversees three bureaus: the Office of Revenue Tax Analysis (ORTA), Tax Policy, and the Office of Legislative Affairs. His workday revolves around policymaking and policy review while examining legislation that’s been introduced and proposals in development. In addition to policy formation, Jeff meets with stakeholders and assists State Treasurer Eubanks with the various functions that keep the Department of Treasury running for the state of Michigan. A self-professed ‘policy nerd’, Jeff relaxes by walking his Golden Retriever, Ruthie, playing competitive chess, and reading books…on policy!

Here’s how his Treasury career began…

Career Path

My first job out of college was computer programming for a company now known as Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting). I had planned to jump right into graduate school after receiving my undergraduate degree in economics, but my senior honors thesis was a bit of a fiasco. I decided that I wasn’t quite ready for grad school and opted for some work experience, instead.

Headshot of Jeff Guilfoyle
Chief Deputy Treasurer Jeff Guilfoyle

I was at Accenture for three years; my wife was in law school at the time and when she graduated, I returned to Michigan State University for a Ph.D. in economics. My goal was always the doctoral degree but from a project management standpoint, I needed the break in academics to make sure I could get a dissertation done! Grad school was a good experience — MSU was local, it was close to state government, and it led to a job with the Office of Revenue Tax Analysis.

I was an income tax analyst for ORTA beginning in 1998, then changed roles to oversee economic and revenue forecasting as a State Administrative Manager (SAM) 15. The Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis was split into two separate divisions when the director left, and I was made director of the division that focused on economic revenue forecasting. Howard Heideman was the director of the other division, which focused on tax analysis. When ORTA rejoined the divisions a couple of years later, I became the ORTA director.

In 2009, I left Treasury for the presidency of the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan, which is a 108-year-old Michigan nonprofit still performing unbiased state and local public policy research. Four years later, I moved over to work for Public Sector Consultants (PSC), a Lansing-based nonpartisan public policy consulting firm. In 2019, I returned to the Michigan Department of Treasury to be chief deputy treasurer.

I worked with Treasurer Eubanks during my first stint at Treasury, and although I was happy at PSC, I couldn’t resist the opportunity for public policy work with Rachael in the Executive Office. Cumulatively, I’ve worked at Treasury for nearly 17 years.

Treasury was and is a great place to work. I always tell people that one of the interesting things about leaving and coming back is witnessing the results of the continuous improvement work the department has focused on accomplishing. When you’re gone for 10 years then return, you can really see just how successful the department has been in implementing steps toward an improved workplace and better customer service. It really is amazing to compare, and the progress is something we should really feel good about as a department.

On a personal level, I feel good about Treasury’s involvement with Gift of Life Michigan. We were the first state in the nation to give our taxpayers the opportunity to register to be an organ donor by checking a box on a state tax form, putting over 6,000 new people on the registry during this tax season alone! I am very excited about this project; it is impactful legislation and we received so much support from the legislature, the governor’s office, and from everybody at Treasury who worked to make it happen. There has been a wide range of policy issues that I’ve been privileged to work on throughout my career. For someone who’s a policy nerd, getting to work on projects that become laws that help people’s lives is very cool.

Jeff with his family

My Mentors

I’ve worked with some stellar employees at Treasury during both of my tenures, and three of my colleagues have especially impacted my career: Mark Haas (retired), was a really good mentor for me. He was the director of ORTA when I hired in and eventually became chief deputy before he left the department. I learned a ton from Howard Heideman, current administrator of the Local Government Policy Division in the Bureau of Local Government and School Services. And I’ve learned so much from working with Treasurer Rachael Eubanks. I consider these Treasury employees as my ‘Big Three’ mentors and I’ve appreciated both their guidance over the years, and their dedication to public service.

“May You Live in Interesting Times”

My biggest work-related challenge occurred when I was at Treasury the first time, running the Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis. The state was going through a difficult economic period, and we were forecasting revenues and doing a lot of budget support. We had a rolling operating deficit that we had been trying to balance from year to year and in 2007, the state raised taxes. We finally had the opportunity to get the budget balanced for a while when — BAM — we immediately went into the Great Recession and a crisis like we had never seen before.

Normally recessions are short, but Michigan started its downward slide in 2001 and in 2008, when we entered the Great Recession, the wheels really fell off. We were doing important work for the people of Michigan which kept us motivated, but it was stressful and very, very challenging.

I remember at the time, I was a Cub Scout leader and all the dads in the pack were getting laid off one right after the other. From an economic standpoint, it felt like we were all falling down a well and didn’t know where the bottom was — or how bad the recession was going to get. Nationally, 2008–2009 was a tough time, but it was particularly tough for the state of Michigan as the automakers were hit hard.

I am grateful to have had an outstanding team of talented people with excellent analytic ability. We were working a lot of hours in spite of unpaid days because what we were doing really mattered — and although the going was rough, the work was also interesting. You know the old warning, “may you live in interesting times” — the budget crisis years were definitely interesting times! A lot of creativity from a lot of different folks got us through the recession; we have so many good people working at Treasury, and that that really helped.

Treasury Success Skills

Do what you love. If you discover an area where you enjoy the work, you’ll be more enthusiastic about doing it and you will do it better. Building good relationships with everybody you work with is also important; it makes you more productive and makes coming to work every day more enjoyable. When you have good relationships with the people you work with, you just work better as a team — making everyone else more productive as well.

Celebrate progress. Working day to day, it’s easy to get frustrated by a slow-moving project. But if you’re continuously improving, even if it’s in incremental steps, that adds up to real progress over time.

Know how to relax. I find reading relaxing. I do like policy books, but I enjoy a wide range of fiction and nonfiction topics. I usually alternate between a personal growth book and a work of fiction for pure enjoyment. I also play competitive chess as a hobby (I’m not a good competitive chess player, but I do really enjoy it). My kids are grown so I spend a lot of quality time on the trail, walking with my wife and my pandemic pup, Ruthie. Getting outside with a dog help keeps me sane!

Ruthie the Golden Retriever sitting on shore of a lake


My Career at MI Treasury is a series designed to highlight the many unique paths to professional success within the department. For current information about Treasury Careers, please visit our website!



Michigan Department of Treasury

The Department of Treasury is committed to maintaining Michigan’s financial integrity. Contact: 517-335-7508