Rising Tide Car Wash COO Tom D’Eri, who is leading the social entrepreneurship movement, was named the winner for South Florida Business & Wealth magazine’s 2015 Up & Comer Awards in the Retail category. In his position, Tom is dedicated to empowering young adults with autism and inspiring communities to change their perception of their capabilities.
The Up & Comer Awards program, created by South Florida Business & Wealth magazine and Lifestyle Media Group, showcases the many South Florida professionals whose dedication to their occupation and community deserves recognition. The awards honor individuals 39 years of age or younger who exhibit drive and promise; someone poised to become — or who already is — a proven leader in their field. Finalists represent a wide range of backgrounds and industries.
Finalists and winners were recognized at the Up & Comer Awards program on Thursday, June 18, 5:30 p.m. at The Venue in Wilton Manors, located at 2345 Wilton Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305.
D’Eri has proven that it is possible to build a business that blends both money and meaning in an economically viable fashion. Tom and his father, John D’Eri, co-founded Rising Tide Car Wash social enterprise in Parkland in 2013 to develop a scalable solution to employing individuals with autism. They were inspired to do this by watching Tom’s brother Andrew, a vibrant young man with autism, struggle to find his place in the world.
With 30+ employees, Rising Tide is one of the largest employers of people with autism in the U.S. Since its inception in April 2013, Rising Tide has created 75 jobs in the South Florida area.
Tom D’Eri is a frequent public speaker on topics related to social entrepreneurship and autism employment. His most recent speaking engagement was on April 2, 2015, when he was invited to the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day panel event, “Employment: The Autism Advantage” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, N.Y. In addition, he has 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.
In late November 2014, Tom was also recognized by the Miami Herald, which named him one of its 20 Under 40 (individuals under the age of 40) Emerging Leaders in 2014. He is the youngest honoree to ever be named to Miami Herald’s 20 Under 40 list.
“Being named an Up & Comer winner is a true honor. This award recognizes the best and brightest ‘rising stars’ in South Florida and I couldn’t be more thankful,” said D’Eri. “I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to prove the incredible abilities of young adults with autism.”