Growing up on a tree farm in rural Lincoln County, Brookhaven native Tedrick Ratcliff learned at a young age how to appreciate and cultivate some of the state’s finest timber resources.
“I have always wanted to be a forester. Jokingly, I point back to pictures I created in kindergarten that had trees in them,” Ratcliff says. “(Growing up) watching and learning from my father who has always thoroughly enjoyed being a forester was very influential in my decision.”
Ratcliff earned two degrees from Mississippi State University including a BS in forestry and an MBA. While in college, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service on forest management and public recreation issues and after graduation worked for four years as an admissions coordinator for the College of Forest Resources.
As an executive staffer for the Mississippi Forestry Association, Ratcliff is still never far from the woods. Involved with the group since high school, today Ratcliff serves as an ambassador of the forestry profession. Most of his days are spent working on forest policy and meeting with timberland owners, forest business owners, professional foresters, logging contractors, manufacturers, wood fiber suppliers and county, state and federal agencies.
“The future of forestry is promising,” Ratcliff says. “Our industry has suffered the effects that many others have in a poor economy. Our state has the opportunity to continue to be a leader in manufacturing goods and products that are used all over the world and the best part is that a large number of Mississippians play a direct role in this because they own, manage, and enjoy the raw materials that are vital to making this happen.”
Ratcliff also works with the forestry committee of the Andrew Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America, helping assess and manage the district’s timberland resources for recreational use, forest health and sustainability. Ratcliff and his wife Molly live in Brandon and he enjoys canoeing, kayaking, hunting, and fishing.
“Never stop acquiring skills and knowledge related to your expertise,” Ratcliff advises young professionals. “Your professional organizations, associations, and societies are valuable to your ability to network and meet the movers and shakers in your career, so it is important that you aren’t just a member but that you are a participant.”