D’Eri, the Youngest Honoree to Ever Win Miami Herald’s 20 Under 40 Award, is at the Forefront of the Social Entrepreneurship Movement
At the young age of 25, Rising Tide Car Wash COO Tom D’Eri is already leading the social entrepreneurship movement. His dedication to empowering young adults with autism and inspiring communities to change their perception of their capabilities has been recognized by the Miami Herald, which has named him one of its 20 Under 40 (individuals under the age of 40) Emerging Leaders in 2014.
D’Eri, the youngest honoree to ever be named to Miami Herald’s 20 Under 40 list, was selected from among 300 submitted nominations.
As stated by the Miami Herald, the 20 Under 40 Emerging Leaders are savvy businesspeople – self-starters who have community-minded thinking – who are creating their own niches and influencing the larger community. The Miami Herald chose individuals who are involved in multiple projects, and balance business passions with community service.
In April 2013, D’Eri and his father, John D’Eri, launched Rising Tide Car Wash, which empowers individuals with autism to build a career and full life through employment in a premium car wash brand. These individuals include Tom D’Eri’s brother, 21-year-old Andrew D’Eri, a vibrant individual with autism.
Today, Rising Tide is one of the largest employers of people with autism in the U.S. with 30+ employees on the spectrum for 80 percent of its staff, and the 2014 Employer of the Year by Autism Society of America. It’s planning on opening more locations in 2015.
Breaking down the car washing process into 46 distinct steps, Rising Tide helps its associates with autism realize their incredible capabilities, gain confidence that they never had before, make friends, gain financial independence, and have a place to call their own.
Since opening, Rising Tide has almost tripled its customer base, and built an “Unlimited Wash Club” membership of approximately 1,000 people.
Tom D’Eri is highly influential in both the autism employment and social entrepreneurship movements, having been featured on “NBC Nightly News,” Fox Business’ “Making Money,” MSNBC’s “Your Business This Sunday,” TEDxCoconutGrove, Fast Company and the Miami Herald. He has been instrumental in Rising Tide’s many other local and national accomplishments since its launch.
Currently, unemployment among people with autism is approximately 90 percent, and at least 500,000 more individuals with autism will enter the workforce in the next decade.
Tom D’Eri is quoted in the Miami Herald as saying, “We needed to be successful and prove our success is linked to our social mission. Customers evangelize our brand. They are passionate about seeing folks with autism become successful.”
“Tom is a young man on a mission,” Paul Fazio, president of SONNYs Enterprises of Tamarac, the largest manufacturer of conveyorized car wash systems in the world, said in the Miami Herald. “Some talk about making the world a better place; Tom actually does. He has found a way to create a company that is self-sustainable monetarily while dramatically enhancing the lives of those with autism.”
Tom D’Eri is a summa cum laude graduate of Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts with a dual degree in Global Sustainability and Economics/Finance. He is a StartingBloc Fellow and Unreasonable Institute Fellow.
About Rising Tide Car Wash
Rising Tide Car Wash is a scalable social enterprise with the primary mission to employ adults with autism. By delivering a first-rate car wash experience to the consumer, Rising Tide strives to inspire communities to change their perception of the capabilities of people with autism. Through intensive training, team building and caring for the community, Rising Tide sets its employees up for success. With this model, Rising Tide has a goal to provide people with autism with an opportunity to build a career and achieve an independent lifestyle. Rising Tide aims to be Broward County’s first B Corporation (the gold standard in verifying that a company is truly a social enterprise) and the fourth in the state of Florida. Rising Tide Car Wash is located at 7201 N. State Rd 7, Parkland, Fla. 33067. It is open seven days a week from 8 a.m.–6 p.m.