January 17, 2017


BAY CITY, MI -- Two years after signing on as Bay Future Inc.'s third chief executive officer, Mark D. Litten, an Ohio native who successfully launched a $1.2 million jobs plan for the Bay County agency, has resigned from his post.

In a release obtained by The Bay City Times/MLive to investors of Bay Future, the county's public-private economic development agency, Litten, 57, told his board that he is "pursing other professional opportunities in economic development."

The board is now actively working to replace Litten. Trevor Keyes, vice president of economic development, will serve as the main point of contact for the agency.

Messages were left for Litten seeking comment. Keyes declined to comment for the agency, saying an official release will be issued Wednesday, Jan. 18.

Tim Rokosz, chairman of the Bay Future board, was unable to be reached for comment.

Ryan Carley, CEO of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, said collaboration between the chamber and Bay Future has never been stronger.

"While change is never an easy thing, the team and board of Bay Future are 100 percent committed to the economic growth and future of the Bay Area," he said.

The release praises Litten for helping define the future of Bay Future and successfully developing and implementing a plan to create 600 new jobs in the county.

The "Future is Now" campaign aimed to raise $1.2 million -- three times the amount of the agency's previous $400,000 budget --to see the private sector make $300 million in new capital investments and create hundreds of jobs. Officials said they exceeded that fundraising goal.

The plan launched last year on a flashy new website for the agency. Litten's name has already been removed from the staff list on the site.

In addition to its top priority of retaining and helping existing businesses grow, the plan also focused on making Bay Future a hub for entrepreneurs.

Last year, officials from Central Michigan University Research Corp., a business incubator headquartered in Mount Pleasant, announced plans to locate a Bay City business incubator at the Uptown Bay City development.

"Right now, we have a gap for anything that helps our entrepreneurs," Litten said at the time of the announcement. "Our hope is that these folks who go to the incubator will grow their business, spin out and get their own place. Hopefully, that's in Bay County, or at least in the Great Lakes Bay Region."

Litten earned his bachelor's degree at Mount Union College in 1982 and then his master's of science in administration from the University of Dayton in 1991.

Unique to his resume was more than three decades experience as a high school basketball referee in Ohio, a hobby he continued while working in Bay City.