Denise Pike Guzman has joined the Community Development and Inspection Department, which she will lead as Community Services Director after the 2022 retirement of CDI Director Chris Rayes.

Denise Pike Guzman has joined the Community Development and Inspection Department, which she will lead as Community Services Director after the 2022 retirement of CDI Director Chris Rayes.

Photo provided by city of St. Clair Shores


New director to lead Community Development and Inspection Department

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 24, 2021

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — An experienced business leader will join the city in anticipation of the retirement of Community Development and Inspections Director Chris Rayes, who has served the city of St. Clair Shores for 25 years.

Denise Pike Guzman served as development director for the Community Health and Social Services Center in Detroit and is a past community development director for the city of Mount Clemens.

Her experience running an organization in the public sector and working on the “capital side” for a nonprofit will be a good asset to the city when she comes on board as community services director, City Manager Matthew Coppler said.

“She comes in with a good understanding of the services we want to provide our residents as it relates to community development,” Coppler said. “She can build upon the foundation that Chris has built the last 20 years and lead us into the next phase of development of the city.”

According to a release from the city, Guzman began her career with Pike & Associates, a counseling service to nonprofit organizations developing affordable housing, and spent the past two decades working to develop programs to create vibrant, healthy communities that work for everyone. As director in the Community Development and Inspection Department after Rayes’ retirement in 2022, Guzman will be responsible for the long-range planning and physical development of St. Clair Shores, promoting livability and appearance.

Coppler said he and Community Development staff had spoken to City Council at budget time about the need to have a new director hired before Rayes’ impending retirement in January 2022, “so Mr. Rayes can impart a lot of his information and knowledge.”

“Our community development department has a lot of different responsibilities,” Coppler continued. “Normally, you don’t see the engineering/capital project portion in community development, so that is an added amount of work. We wanted to try to get in as much time as possible with Chris and her.”

Mayor Kip Walby said in a press release that he sees this as a “tremendous opportunity to impact the look and feel of the future of St. Clair Shores while remaining true to our community values.”

The fall is a very important time frame in the city, Coppler said, so they wanted to make sure Guzman was exposed to as much of the construction and planning process as possible.

“There’s a lot of things that we wanted to make sure that (she and) Chris … had an opportunity to work on together so when Chris steps away, she’ll be ready to go,” he said.

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