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Tom D’Eri / Rising Tide Car Wash

Tom D’Eri is a strong advocate of the movement to capture the untapped resource that is people with autism. Having seen the struggles that his brother Andrew, a vibrant individual with autism, faced in finding a job, Tom knew that there must be a way to help. He enthusiastically decided to work with his father, John D’Eri, to found Rising Tide Car Wash, a groundbreaking social enterprise and high-quality car wash experience.

A graduate of Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. with summa cum laude honors in Economics/Finance and a concentration in Earth, Environment, and Global Sustainability, Tom is leveraging his love for the environment into a more holistic view of sustainability. Throughout his college career, he actively engaged with organizations to help them become more sustainable and socially conscious. These experiences helped him gain a strong skill set in research, analysis, business planning and collaboration.

Tom has worked in various positions in the sustainability field for companies such as Enterasys Secure Networks in North Andover, Massachusetts (Sustainability Advisor), Strategic Sustainability Consulting in Washington, D.C. (Research Intern, Assistant Consultant), Fitzgerald Elementary School in Waltham, Massachusetts (Sustainability Consultant), Sodexo/Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts (Sustainability Intern), and Waltham Fields Community Farms in Waltham, Massachusetts (Project Manager).

In 2011, along with his father, he founded CanDo Business Ventures (www.candobiz.com), a company dedicated to designing, testing and deploying businesses that can provide sustainable employment for adults. Tom, Managing Partner of the company, and his father founded Rising Tide Car Wash to further this cause.

“I’m very passionate about sustainability, not only in terms of the environment, but also in the potential for long-term social well-being for all individuals, including those with autism,” said Tom. “I feel that by founding Rising Tide Car Wash, I and my dad are taking a major step in changing public perception of the capabilities that people with autism have.”

Tom has certifications in Essentials of Project Management through Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, and Strategic Sustainability Consulting Green Auditing.

Specific accomplishments:
• Tom was named to the prestigious 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs list.
• Tom was selected to speak at the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day event, “Employment: The Autism Advantage,” in April 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, New York.
• He attended Unreasonable Institute Global, one of the most prestigious social impact accelerator programs in the world, in summer 2014 (Rising Tide was chosen from over 240 applying companies worldwide as one of 13 carefully vetted ventures.)
• In February 2014, Tom, along with his father John, were invited to speak at the February 2014 TEDx Coconut Grove, an entity of the national TED program of local, self-organized events that engage the community in a discussion of ideas to expand perspectives and make a philanthropic impact.
• Tom and John were selected by Autism Speaks to share their knowledge at the first-of-its-kind national Extraordinary Ventures Conference in January 2014.
• In summer 2013, Tom and John attended the SOCAP13 (Social Capital Markets Conference) in San Francisco, Calif., for which Rising Tide was awarded a scholarship.
• Tom’s awards include South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine’s 2015 Up & Comer Award, Retail category; and the 2014 Miami Herald 20 Under 40 Emerging Leader award. He is the youngest honoree to ever be named to Miami Herald’s 20 Under 40 list, and was selected from among 300 submitted nominations.

Thomas currently serves on the board of the RACI Project, a volunteer-run citizen organization specializing in cross-cultural solutions for sustainable livelihoods development; and is a StartingBloc Fellow among other young leaders aged 18-30 from all sectors who believe that economic value creation and social value creation are  complementary. While in college, he performed extensive service with the Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism.

Thomas currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, reading, music, martial arts and scuba diving.

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Impact:
Rising Tide provides both first jobs and careers for people with autism, and is a platform for community awareness. 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 is striving to change the root cause of this unemployment: society views autism as a disability opposed to a diversity. Tom instills confidence and understanding of how to be a great employee, necessary to help highly capable people with autism reach their potential. Rising Tide strives to provide a supportive, yet real world experience for individuals with autism, so they can learn how to interact with coworkers, supervisors and customers and build skills they need to reach their career aspirations. Rising Tide’s infrastructure teaches its employees how to navigate the complex social dynamics of the workplace that are confusing for someone with autism, and give them a recommendation that helps bridge the gap between their dreams and available opportunities. Based on Rising Tide’s internal impact measurement, conducted by autism professionals with advanced clinical psychology degrees, Rising Tide has seen 100 percent improvements in its employees’ development of social relationships, self-confidence, self-acceptance, self-efficacy and community membership.

 

 

Jason Hill / Client Focused Advisors
(Host)

Kevin Cox / Adams Center for Entrepreneurship at FAU
(Co-Host)

Tom D’Eri / Rising Tide Car Wash
(Guest)