Big Boss Man
Derek Pratt, the middle brother of Pratt Guys, serves as “Big Boss Man,” managing operations and projects out in the field for the family business. Derek is a jack-of-all-trades with over 20 years of expertise in the building trades and, according to his brothers Adam and Jason, is the family peacemaker.
Derek’s love of and skills in the area of building and construction started very early on, with his grandfather being a major influence. At age 7, Derek was gifted his very first toolkit by his mom and dad. A naturally gifted problem solver, as a kid and teenager Derek frequently taught himself how to fix things through trial and error, since Google and how-to videos weren’t yet on the scene. He landed his first job at Curry Thomas Hardware, a locally owned hardware store on Baymeadows Road that’s still around today. The job interview consisted only in demonstrating that he could carry an 80-pound bag of salt, and they hired him on the spot.
Working at Curry Thomas Hardware from the age of 14 to 18 gave Derek broad hands-on training in construction, custom service, electrical fittings plumbing, renovation, repair work and tools. Derek credits Matt Thomas, one of the owners, for mentoring him and teaching him about every aspect of the business. From plumbing to electrical work, to re-screening screens and fixing nearly anything, Derek left Curry Thomas Hardware with a bevy of new skills and many strong relationships with builders and contractors. Derek and the Pratt Guys now pay it forward to Curry Thomas Hardware – Pratt Guys is currently one of their biggest customers.
Derek left Curry Thomas Hardware to work for several well-known and reputable custom residential builders in Northeast Florida. Those jobs took Derek’s skills for building and fixing to the next level. He learned how to run a jobsite, quality control and professionalism - all key ingredients that have supported the success of Pratt Guys.
Florida State College at Jacksonville was Derek’s next stop on his career path, where he earned a certificate from their construction trades program. At FSCJ’s downtown campus, Derek and his fellow students built whole houses, then would tear them down and do it all again under the leadership of Professor Rivers, another person Derek cites as a significant mentor in his life. Derek’s formal construction trades education, coupled with his 20 years of on-site construction experience, has made Derek an expert in construction and high-quality craftsmanship.
Derek treats Pratt Guys employees like family, and his brothers say he is the most levelheaded and big-hearted one of the three. He also was a big influence on the youngest Pratt brother, Adam, by helping him to discover his love of woodworking and mentoring him in the building trades. With the encouragement of their father and Matt Thomas, Derek and Adam started Pratt Home Maintenance, the precursor to Pratt Guys, in 2004.
Derek is passionate about running his own company with his brothers and producing the highest quality of hand-crafted pergolas, outdoor living spaces, and craftsmanship for their customers. He has exceptionally high standards for quality workmanship and expertise in the building trades which shines through on every project Pratt Guys work on. Derek’s dream project is to build his own dream backyard, complete with a pool, fireplace, pergola and tree house. In essence, the perfect place to #EnjoyEarth with his family.
Derek and and his wife Rachel have three wonderful children. In addition to spending time with his family, Derek enjoys boating, fishing, hunting and doing pretty much anything outdoors. He has also volunteered for HabiJax, mission trips to Mexico and Tennessee and is a graduate of the FBI Citizens’ Academy.