Employing and Developing People with Autism with Thomas D’Eri

UPDATED: January 30, 2024
PUBLISHED: January 20, 2023
Employing and Developing People with Autism with Thomas D'Eri

Ten years ago, Thomas D’Eri and his family knew they needed to do something to help his brother Andrew, who’s on the autism spectrum, lead the full adult life they knew he was capable of. As a result, D’Eri opened Rising Tide Car Wash with his father; the family now has a chain of three car washes employing more than 90 people with autism. Today, D’Eri talks with Brilliant Thoughts host Tristan Ahumada about designing an organization around people with autism and their talents.

Rising Tide Car Wash uses a structured hiring process with job auditions and training programs in order to eliminate bias. There is consistent training and feedback in the work environment and the business is intentional about building strong systems to grow rapidly. D’Eri talks about having both organizational and individual-level purposes, which can include answering questions like:

“‘Do I have control over my day? Do I feel like I’m growing? Do I feel like I have relationships that matter at work?’ Those are the things that really drive our purpose and experience on a daily basis,” D’Eri says. 

He also explains how people with autism have different social skills than neurotypical people, and how almost any organization would benefit from hiring people with autism. His lessons for hiring, training and developing staff can be used by all types of companies. 

Thomas D’Eri is the author of The Power of Potential: How a Nontraditional Workforce Can Lead You to Run Your Business Better. Follow Rising Tide Car Wash on Facebook and Instagram

Brilliant Thoughts with Tristan Ahumada is no longer releasing new episodes on the SUCCESS Podcast Network, but you can still listen to the full conversation below.

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Tristan Ahumada is the People Editor for SUCCESS, operates Lab Coat Agents as its CEO, consults Fortune 500 companies, runs a successful Real Estate team in California, expansion teams in the U.S. (in different brokerages), owner in one Brokerage, currently sits on different boards for tech companies, and is also an international speaker. His love for technology and systems pushes him to test and use the latest products for growth for all businesses around the world including Real Estate Agents/Brokers. Tristan is from Southern California where he currently lives with his wife and two kids.