Denise Cattern, spokesperson for the City of Chino Hills who has a smile and positive word for everyone, has retired from the city she loves after 32 years of service.
More than 100 friends, family, and city employees from the past and present attended her retirement party via Zoom on Thursday afternoon.
She was given a city tile and praised by the council and community for her impact on shaping Chino Hills during Tuesday’s city council meeting, her last as city spokesperson.
Taking her place is Nicole Freeman who gave her first “public information officer” report the same evening.
Mrs. Cattern, a longtime resident of Chino Hills, started her career in 1988 before the city incorporated at the Chino Hills Manager’s Office, a special district of the County of San Bernardino.
Chino Hills was experiencing tremendous growth at the time and Mrs. Cattern became the “answer person” handling questions from the community and developers.
From December 1991 to March 1992, she was the deputy city clerk.
In 1994, she was appointed to serve as the community services director responsible for the city’s fledgling recreation programs, special events, volunteer programs, and park planning.
Four years later, she transitioned back to the city manager’s office to handle public information duties.
She served as the city’s first public information officer, working across all departments to gather information in support of the council’s objective to enhance the flow of information to residents through the website, newsletter, and media releases.
She coordinated special events and spent countless hours planning the celebrations of new parks, roads, and even freeways, helping organize the grand opening of the 71 Freeway.
She also coordinated early groundbreakings for the places in the community that brought people together and created fond memories such as the original City Hall off Founders Drive, the new City Hall, the Community Center, Big League Dreams Sports Park, and the McCoy Equestrian Center. Often, she received calls in the middle of the night related to Carbon Canyon closures, COVID-19 updates, and most recently, the Blue Ridge fire.
Her colleagues said that despite “middle-of-the-night” wakeup calls, she never was seen without a smile on her face.
In 2013, she was honored by her fellow employees as the city’s Employee of the Year for her work ethic, positive attitude, years of dedicated service and tireless efforts to go above and beyond.
Mrs. Cattern often said she has the best job because she works on a great team and enjoys meeting residents, community leaders, business owners and volunteers who make a difference.
Mrs. Cattern co-founded the Chino Hills Historical Society in 1994, and currently serves as president. She will remain active in that role.
She has served as a board member of the Chino Youth Museum serving as secretary, and volunteered for bingo events.
Mrs. Cattern and her husband Mark have been married for 41 years and have lived in Chino Hills for 34 years.
Their two children graduated from Chino Hills High School and attended college. Their son Chris is 32 and daughter Kelly is 29.
Mrs. Cattern recently became a grandmother.