Small Business Stories | Tina Dodd

Tina Dodd is the owner and operator of Drive Alert Training Academy in Greenville, SC. Her facility is the only driver training school in South Carolina that uses simulators to train its students. A mural inside her building reads, “learn to drive the way pilots learn to fly.” Tina opened the doors to the driver academy in 2013, but it wasn’t an easy road to get her business off the ground.  

In 2007, Tina Dodd was a law enforcement investigator in Greenville, and after working a Friday night shift, she responded to an incident that significantly altered the trajectory of her career. She was confronted by a tragic scene of a car accident that took the lives of three teenagers. As a mother and military veteran, the accident was incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking. The thing that struck her was how preventable the situation was if the driver had been adequately educated.  

“Something needed to be done differently,” said Tina, “an approach similar to how the military approaches training.”  

Driven by the conviction that a different approach was necessary, the idea for Drive Alert Training Academy took shape. Tina went back to college to get a degree in business, joined the Army, and served in Afghanistan. Just a year later, Tina was able to start her business. “Vehicles are deemed weapons, so we should have the same approach, training this age group through simulations.” 

Throughout her time as a business owner, Tina has utilized many resources in the area to learn new skills and gain support. Tina has participated in several CommunityWorks trainings and workshops, including Microentrepreneur Training and CommunityWorks Academy. She has also utilized business coaching and opened a Credit Builder Secured Savings account. She has worked with several CommunityWorks staff members and has dubbed them her power team. “If you use the wisdom they give you, there’s no way that you will not be successful,” Tina told us.  

Her advice to other business owners? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Tina attributes the advice and wisdom of the CommunityWorks team and of other organizations that support business owners to be a huge factor in her success. “Resources are out there, so don’t try to do it all by yourself. There are teams of individuals out there whose passion is to help others.”