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Carpenter wants to a see new Detroit



By Puakea Olaisha Anderson
Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Rodney Prater, president of Prater Commercial Carpentry, started in the business 20 years ago. Now, the 39-year-old father of four heads his own company located inside the Ford Building on Griswold in downtown Detroit.

“Business is oftentimes about winning and I love winning,” Prater told the Michigan Citizen. “Winning is a strategy (of) knowing who your opponent is and knowing how to maneuver to get the win and sometimes winning has different strategies.”

Prater Commercial is a full-service commercial carpentry company that provides interior contracting for commercial buildings and acoustic ceilings.

As a student at Cooley High School, 20 years ago, Prater enrolled in a carpentry program at Randolph Vocational located on the city’s west side. He graduated first in his class and obtained his first job at Jenkins Construction in June 1992. There, Prater had the opportunity to perform work at Straight Gate Church, where he still attends. He later became vice president at Brinker Construction before deciding to start his own business.

Prater has shared his success with his three partners for over 15 years. Prater’s first location was on the west side of Detroit on Grand River and I-96. He still uses that location as his warehouse. PCC works with Sachse Construction in Birmingham, Turner Construction, Walbridge and Quicken Loans — just to name a few.

“I always wanted to do this as a child; it’s a dream come true, a promise fulfilled,” Prater says.

Prater says he likes business and being strategic.

“There is not an immediate approach — you have to worry about the end game,” he said. Prater prides his company on quality work while adhering to strict deadlines. He credits his Detroit upbringing and the city itself. He hopes to see more businesses flourish in his hometown.

“I want to see the new culture spread through the neighborhoods in Detroit,” he said. “Downtown is cool, but I want to see a new Detroit on the west side east side, Northend and Southwest. Downtown is always going to be in business. I am not a proponent of the trickle-down theory, but more of a grassroots approach.”

Prater wants to hire Detroiters and give back to his hometown.

“I am giving back to the community by creating jobs. I give back to the community by targeting neighborhood landmarks and revitalizing them,” he said. Prater is optimistic about the revitalization of Detroit and urges Detroit natives who have moved away to return.

“Come back home to Detroit. Greater days are ahead of us and not behind us,” he said.

 For more information about Prater Commercial Carpentry, visit

Contact Puakea Olaisha Anderson at


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