Durham Business Owner Receives Small Business of the Year Award from Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

DURHAM — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services has honored Durham business owner David Tedrow with a 2018 Small Business of the Year award.

The DVRS Small Business Award recognizes the success of clients who overcame disability to become self-employed and highlights community and state partners who provide critical support to entrepreneurs with disabilities. 

“All entrepreneurs face challenges to be successful,” said Tara Myers, DVRS division director. “But these inspiring entrepreneurs have shown the incredible grit and determination to create growing businesses while facing serious disabilities that might have stopped the rest of us.”
Tedrow overcame serious medical challenges before starting Senior Health Insurance Brokers, LLC, a Medicare insurance brokerage. Less than four years ago, Tedrow couldn’t drive a car, he’d forgotten how to open a car door or answer a telephone. He was in and out of the hospital on a weekly basis. 

“I was dying,” Tedrow said. 

After a liver transplant, Tedrow spent his first year of recovery counseling people new to Medicare on a volunteer basis. After a meeting with the Durham County Vocational Rehabilitation office, Tedrow decided to start his own business as a Medicare insurance broker, and Senior Health Insurance Brokers was born. The brokerage now has more than 70 clients.

“I am not totally self-sufficient yet, but that day is coming,” Tedrow said.

Candidates are nominated by the division’s counselors, small business specialists and policy team. To be selected, the client must have successfully achieved their vocational rehabilitation goals, be willing to be publicly recognized and have overcome significant challenges in building a sustainable business. 

The division’s Small Business Advisory Committee, which includes entrepreneurs and other members of the state’s small business community, review the nominees and select a winner, who receives a plaque.

Other winners of the DVRS Small Business of the Year award were Charles Nembhard of Charley King’s Jamaican Jerk Sauces in Black Mountain, Darlene Lane of Dee’s Power Up Cleaning Services in Whiteville and attorney Patrick Newman in Morehead City.

DVRS is dedicated to providing an array of comprehensive employment preparation and support services to people with disabilities seeking to gain, maintain or advance in employment. Additional services are provided to individuals seeking assistance to maximize their independence in their home and community.