The district comprises nine counties: Bowie, Camp, Cass, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Panola, Titus and Upshur. Ratcliff became district engineer in September 1999.
Ratcliff began at TxDOT as a summer hire engineering aide in 1973 in the Atlanta District, and started full time in 1980 as a traffic engineering specialist in the Tyler District. The same year, he transferred to the Smith County Area Office where he designed and inspected construction projects. From 1982 until 1985, he was assistant area engineer in the Tyler Area Office.
Moving in 1985 to the district office as assistant district construction engineer, Ratcliff monitored construction projects and materials testing, and also served as assistant district traffic control coordinator. Promoted to area engineer in 1986, he was responsible for planning, design and construction of projects in the Tyler Area Office and managed two maintenance sections.
In 1993, Ratcliff became the director of construction, overseeing all construction activities in Tyler's eight-county district. He also managed laboratory and pavement engineering activities.
A native of Marshall, Ratcliff earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University in 1974. After graduating in 1975 with his master's degree in traffic and transportation engineering from the university, he worked for the city of Plainview and Texas Tech University.