Morehead City Attorney Receives Small Business of the Year Award from Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

MOREHEAD CITY — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services has honored Morehead City attorney Patrick Newman 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.”
Newman was born with scoliosis, leg impairments and without arms, and has been using a wheelchair since he was 2-years-old. He received his law degree from Campbell University in 2012 at age 24 and was sworn in as an attorney at the Carteret County Courthouse. 

After law school, Newman moved back to Beaufort to start his own practice. He created a business plan with the help of Carteret Community College’s Small Business Center, but faced with student debt and the cost of starting a law firm — including specialized transportation, additional administrative and personal support and expensive, custom-tailored suits — Newman lived with his parents while his firm got off the ground. 

From the beginning, Newman has taken both court-appointed and private clients in criminal, civil and family law. Newman shares office space and legal assistant services with another attorney.

“Vocational Rehabilitation Services has been a consistent partner, providing services from assistive technology to rehabilitation engineering, to independent living and self-employment services,” said Newman. 

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 David Tedrow of Senior Health Insurance Brokers, LLC, in Durham.

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.