Our Values

Never Stop Learning

I learned early in life not to be afraid of digging into a piece of machinery to see how it worked. As a matter of fact, one of my earliest memories is of sitting on my dad’s lap in front of our dinner table, taking cameras apart and putting them back together again. The intricacy and attention to detail fascinated me. As I grew up, so did technology and so did my desire to learn even more. It led me to start my own company in 1999, and I’ve been digging into network architecture and security ever since.

Dad’s dinner table was the conference table in the office of Sterling Ideas Inc. when we first started out. It literally provided support for our work as we assembled computers in those early days. We’ve grown as a business and as a team since then, but Dad’s lessons live on.

What we do is multi-faceted: We architect networks, secure data, monitor systems, help clients comply with complex regulations, and offer security awareness training for clients’ staffs. But why we do this job has remained the same. We work for the long-term good of our clients’ businesses. Our vision is to see our clients thrive. We’re always thinking of those our clients serve — their clients, customers, students, patients. That’s what gets us up in the morning and keeps us working all day.

~ Charles

How Does This Work?

As a kid I was always taking things apart and putting them back together. I don’t know why; it’s just something I did.

Today I’m still doing the same thing, albeit on a much larger scale. Lawn mower doesn’t run? Take the carburetor apart, put it back together, and the lawn mower usually runs again. It’s curious the things you see and learn when you break something down to its pieces.

When I started working with computers, I was building them from scratch, piece by piece. I got to know them from the inside out. Nowadays I find that I tend to approach issues in the same way. Take it apart, look at each individual piece, see how it fits, determine what its purpose is, and put it back together again. A common phrase you’ll hear from me is, “Let’s put all the pieces on the table . . . ”

It changes everything, when you look at something not just at face value, but as a sum of parts—parts that you intricately understand. When something isn’t working, if you understand each piece, each connection, each function of every part, solving problems becomes much more efficient and effective.

You see, that’s what we do at Sterling Ideas. We take your entire IT system—infrastructure, hardware, software, applications—and we learn it, top to bottom, inside and out. We learn your systems, your company, your employees’ needs. We “take it apart and put it back together,” so that we have an intricate knowledge of your IT. We take the time to look at your unique, complex systems and find customized, intelligent solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all IT system, which means there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

That is what we do for our clients. We learn their systems, optimize their infrastructure, and implement new technology where it enhances their business. We protect and defend their technology, solve problems, and create tailored technical solutions.

We get up every morning. We put all the pieces on the table. And we get to work.

~ Todd

Prioritize Relationships

Once I realized that my dreams of playing wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were most likely not going to pan out, I pretty much knew that I wanted to work with my dad at the family company. I didn’t really know what my dad did on a day-to-day basis, but I did know that growing up with a tech guru in the house had its perks. I remember when he built a TiVo out of an old computer and we were able to record football games and fast forward through commercials long before it was a household concept. He taught both my mom and me how to do rudimentary HTML so that we could embed pictures into our eBay posts, taking our presentations to the next level. I never knew how, but he figured out how to program bots into Team Fortress II, an old cartoon video game that all the guys in my family used to play. This magic that my dad pulled off always intrigued me, and I wanted to learn it myself. He was also very busy by the time I was part-way through college, and we all knew that he needed another set of hands, so it only made sense for me to join the family business.

When I tell people that I work with my parents, I often get the same reaction — “Do you guys get along? I don’t know if I could work with my parents every day.” We’ve all heard someone say not to do business with friends if you want to stay friends. But now I’ve been here since 2018 and have enjoyed working with my parents the entire time. We have a good relationship, but most importantly we have always prioritized that relationship. From the day I started, it was made clear that we would always be father-son first, not boss-employee. We have always made a conscious effort not to let work overrun our lives and become our relationship. I believe this is why we have such an unusually long client retention rate as well. We prize the relationships that we make. We don’t try to squeeze every last penny out of our clients or take advantage of them at every turn because, ultimately, we want what is best for our clients, not just another dollar. We want to see our friends’ and neighbors’ businesses grow and make an impact in our communities.

Now we do have to charge for our services because we put a lot of time, effort, and money into making sure that we provide the best service available. Just like my parents and I spend large parts of our lives discussing work, building plans, and studying our industry. But at the end of the day, we are family, not coworkers. Just like at the end of the day our clients are not just how we keep the lights on; they’re why we do it.

~ Sterling

Communication is Key

During my time in the military, I learned a lot—a lot about military operations and military technology and much, much more. And now that I am working in the civilian technology sector, I’ve realized that one lesson I learned has continued to guide my work: communication is key.

Without proper communication, teams fall apart, chaos ensues, and the enemy wins. For me in the military, this meant making sure everyone’s radios were functioning, satellite dishes were operational, and computers were running at their peak performance prior to every single mission. I had to ensure that everyone could communicate safely and effectively when it really mattered.

Now you might be using laptops rather than radios and WiFi instead of satellites, but that does not change the fact that maintaining communication is key. If your computer crashes or glitches, you may not get that important email out on time.

If your systems are architected inefficiently, causing lags in communications and operations, your business will slowly but surely begin to bleed. Customers will grow impatient, staff will grow frustrated, and your business will do anything but grow. This lack of communication will lead to missed deadlines, unhappy customers, and a suffering business.

Here at Sterling Ideas, we don’t just fix communications issues quickly—we strive to prevent them from happening in the first place because when it matters most, you don’t have time for downtime. Our team works hard so that you can communicate effectively and securely—to do your job and serve your customers well.


Playing in the Pocket

I grew up in a large family—my mother, father, six siblings, other people’s kids, and every pet ever sold at the pet store or fortunate enough to find its way onto our front porch. Adding to this chaos was the fact that, for the most part, we all played some form of an instrument. From a young age, my parents pushed us to keep a multi-generational skill alive. Unlike my brothers and sisters, whose fingers moved like spiders and whose focus and determination made them masters of their respective instruments, I chose to delve into the world of bass and eventually every stringed instrument I could get my hands on—a jack of all trades, master of none. However, while my skills as a musician may not be up to par with the best, I can lay down a mean beat. Countless hours spent learning the late and great Jaco Pastorius licks and making my fingers bleed trying to resemble the thumping heat that is Victor Wooten would eventually lead me to play in several bands, open up for several large acts, and cultivate a true appreciation for the ideals of improvisation and the art of jamming.

The thing about playing in a band is that it not only takes teamwork but also a deep connection to the music and to your fellow musicians. Although the audience doesn’t hear it, the underlying rhythm and tempo that lead a group of musicians to play in harmony is a delicate balance. The skill of anticipating the next note, feeling the next move is a lot like how we operate here at Sterling Ideas. We all respect each other’s areas of expertise, laying down rock-solid support for others and taking the lead when called upon. It’s not about one person being the best but about working as a team to create harmony.


Remember That You Get What You Pay For

As a little girl, I adored dolls. I collected dozens of them and begged my parents to provide a lavish lifestyle for them: remote-controlled convertibles, dream homes, and even their very own cruise ship. While spending countless hours in pretend play, I also learned real-world lessons because every once in a while I would take a couple of bucks (literally) and buy a cheap knock-off doll, wanting the benefits of name brand without the added expense of the real thing.

Invariably, the cheap doll’s arms, legs, or even head would pop off and require forceful reassembling mid-play. I remember complaining to my mother about the deficiencies. She wisely responded with, “You get what you pay for.” It didn’t take long for me to understand that nothing had been saved; in fact, I had lost money.

It’s a lesson I’ve remembered all my life and one that has informed many decisions, everything from the minor (such as purchasing appliances for the home) to the major (such as educating my children). In my roles of Compliance Manager at Sterling Ideas, it is my passion to serve not only our clients well but also our employees, and it is then that my mother’s words come back to me: “You get what you pay for.”

This means we take good care of our employees. We invest in them personally and professionally because we want to see them thrive in all areas of their lives. It also means we take good care of our clients. We invest in solid, proven products that safeguard our clients’ businesses. We don’t skimp or make do. We are not interested in wasting our employees’ skills or our clients’ time and money. You see, we are old enough to know that “you get what you pay for.” It’s a sterling idea, and it makes for good business.

~ JoAnn

Do The Hard Work

Growing up in sleepy Citrus County, I had a couple options to fill the time that I didn’t spend in school: spend a lot of time out on the water, get super into video games, or play sports. I don’t like manatees and I sunburn easily, and my mom had the good sense to limit the amount of time we sat staring at a TV. Sports it was.

Starting at the young age of 12, I was spending 10 or 12 hours a week in volleyball practices and games. As a middle school athlete, life was pretty simple. Go to practice, try hard, go home. Show up on game days and hope for the best. Winning and losing didn’t really matter. Repeat the next day.

As I got older, I had a decision to make. I could either keep showing up when I was told and leaving as soon as I could, doing the minimum amount of work I had to, or I could commit myself. I could workout on my own and get stronger. I could show up early to practices and stay late. I could help the younger players on the team progress, knowing that it takes a whole team to win. I decided not to do the bare minimum. I committed.

So, by the time my junior and senior years rolled around, I was a three-sport varsity athlete spending 1 or 2 hours a day in the gym, 2-3 hours a day at practices, and about an hour a day watching film. All of a sudden, winning and losing did matter. Playoff brackets, district titles, and college scholarships hung in the balance. The hard work of sports wasn’t done on game days. It was done at 5:30 in the morning in an empty gym and at 11:30 at night, watching film on the bus. I learned to put in the hard work while no one was watching because if you wait to work hard until someone is watching, it’s too late.

This is why I love working at Sterling Ideas. We do the hard work, day in and day out. We’re up early and we work late. We don’t wait until everyone is watching to do what needs to be done. We don’t start working hard when you run into big problems; we work hard to make sure you don’t have big problems. We aren’t clocking in at 8:59 and clocking out at 5:00, hoping it’s enough to stay afloat. We care too much about you and your company to show up on game day and hope for the best. Your company, your employees, and the good work you do all hang in the balance. At Sterling Ideas, we’ve always worked hard for your success. We’re committed to you.


Do What You Love

I was always an arts and crafts kind of kid. Throw some colored paper and glue in front of me and I was happy. I loved to draw and play with clay, pipe cleaners, pompoms, paint, anything I could use to create something with.

When I grew up I had less and less time for those little projects. I worked plenty of jobs where I was just a sheep in the flock, doing the same thing as everyone else. I worked in offices, did paperwork, made appointments, scanned documents, you get the picture. For years I did these jobs where I wasn’t doing anything that particularly excited me, but I did it because I thought that’s how it was for everyone. Then, I decided that I was done. I was done being just the girl in the office people asked to get coffee.

I joined Sterling Ideas, and it was almost like whiplash. I was blown away by the amount of love they pour into their work, employees, clients, and community. I saw the way they connect with their clients and really get to know them and care for them. I saw the way they cheer on their staff to do what they dream about. I expressed my love for creating and being artistic, and they pushed me to do just that. Now I get to design instead of filing papers, I get to dream of ways to market instead of reminding people they have a meeting, I get to dream big and be who I want instead of just being another employee.

My favorite thing about being part of the Sterling Ideas team is that they appreciate all individuals’ strengths. Not only do they recognize that everyone has their own passions, but they encourage everyone to do what it is they love and try to find ways to incorporate those skills into their work.

Sterling Ideas understands that every employee and client has unique needs, and they do their best to cater to that.


5 stars

“The team at Sterling Ideas provides professional service at a level of excellence. As an IT Director, I know my IT Infrastructure is in great hands. In the Healthcare Industry, technology rapidly changes, and Sterling Ideas is always ready to help us with the next big project.”

- IT Director • 12-Office Medical Practice across Central FL • Client since 2006

5 stars

"Sterling Ideas assisted us in ensuring we are compliant with the new FTC Safeguards. This was a huge undertaking for our company, and we couldn't have accomplished it without their excellent support, guidance and leadership. The staff at Sterling Ideas are always so helpful and patient with all of our questions and needs!"

– Operations Manager, 2-Campus Cosmetology School, Client since 2019

5 stars

"The Sterling Ideas team has provided dedicated support to our healthcare organization throughout our continued growth. They are knowledgeable, insightful and always reliable to ensure we are protected and able to focus on our mission of caring for patients."

– Vice President of Operations, 250-Employee Medical Client, Client since 2011

5 stars

"Charles and his company have provided IT services for my company for over 20 years, and I've never had a time where he or his staff didn’t respond to my emergency needs. They have treated me like family, and they will continue to have me as a client for as long as they will have me."

– Owner and President, Land Acquisition Firm covering the Southeast, Client since 2001

5 stars

"Sterling Ideas has an amazing and supportive team. I have worked with them for many years and would highly recommend their services."

– Owner, 5-Employee Title Services Company, Client since 2014

“We have been using Sterling Ideas for our IT needs for over 20 years. From the beginning when they rescued us from disaster to our continued expansion to over 250 computers on our campus, they have been there. We have had very little downtime over the years compared to my peers. If you do what Sterling Ideas says to do, your system will work. They always respond to your questions or needs the very same day. I’m sticking with Sterling Ideas!”

- Operations Manager • Large Local Church • Client since 2002

“The team at Sterling Ideas provides professional service at a level of excellence. As an IT Director, I know my IT Infrastructure is in great hands. In the Healthcare Industry, technology rapidly changes, and Sterling Ideas is always ready to help us with the next big project.”

- IT Director • 12-Office Medical Practice across Central FL • Client since 2006

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