About DDS

Our Team divider-right

Merit Lee

CEO & Founder

Merit Lee, Founder and Creative Director of Digital Design Solutions and SearchThruster, graduated with a degree in Internet Technology & Design from San Francisco State University and founded Digital Design Solutions in 1996.
Merit has been building lucrative internet companies for over 20 years and, in addition to her the flagship companies; she also founded Google Map Builder. She combines her love of design and her talent for sales to create websites that are not only visually stimulating, but focus on usability and ROI. Her organizational skills and passion for her staff and her clients contributes to the on-going success of Digital Design Solutions. Merit fully recognizes the importance of being a full-service, state-of-the-art digital marketing firm and is committed to stay on top of the very latest design trends and technologies.

Cristan Raz

Director Of Operations
Senior Project Manager

Cristan Raz, Director Of Operations and Senior Project Manager, oversees all tasks assigned to the various program team members ensuring that they are completed in an accurate and timely manner. Exceedingly organized and articulate, Cristan is an integral part of each program meeting. Her well-refined people skills are an invaluable asset as schedule requirements become increasingly more compressed. Cristan dives right into each new project and works closely with the clients on a daily basis to ensure good communication, great service and fantastic design. Cristan has a wide variety of clients from automotive specialty stores to gaming stores and many, many others. Cristan’s ability to listen to the clients and create a site that is stunning and well-formed is priceless.
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Tonja Laing

Senior Project Manager

Tonja Laing, Senior Web Designer & Project Manager has been an integral part of the Digital Design Solutions team since 2010. She is solely responsible for website maintenance updates for new and existing clients. Additionally, Tonja expertly manages website development from cradle to grave for a wide range of clients, including hair salons, pharmacies, art galleries, jewelry stores, high end audio equipment, and fine cuisine as well as many others. She is particularly adept at redesigning dated websites into fresh, state-of-the-art versions of their former selves. The clients are stunned and grateful for the “before and after” changes to their websites thanks to Tonja’s ability to actively listen to client concerns and creatively translate their needs into the new and vibrant website.

Tara Jones

Senior Project Manager

Tara Jones, Senior Web Designer & Project Manager earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Boston University.
She is an experienced professional with strong success in project management, product marketing, client services, sales support,
logistics and P&L support.
Each of these items is a critical component for our clients as well as Digital Design Solutions when developing website design with a compressed schedule and ensuring responsible cost control.
Tara’s dynamic personality, boundless energy, and remarkable creativity contributes to her exceptional service and leadership skills. She is a valued team leader, group leader, and individual contributor.


Kara Pound

Content Writer

Kara Pound has been a professional writer and marketing consultant for more than a decade. Originally from Connecticut, Kara received a BA in Communications from Flagler College (St. Augustine, FL) with a focus in journalism. She has written content and worked on marketing projects for Prudential, NOVA Southeastern University, Mental Health America, iStart Jax, and Unison. Kara has also co-authored nearly a dozen books covering everything from medical history to a how-to find success in marketing for independent musicians. Kara resides in St. Augustine and is heavily involved in the local music and art scenes. She is currently the staff writer for Old City Life magazine and art and music columnist for St. Augustine Record’s Compass publication.

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Rob Young

Custom Programmer

Rob Young, Senior Programmer & Senior Architect, is a highly experienced programmer, writer, dba, and application developer. He has been working in software and development since 1994. His client list includes AT&T, IBM, GM, Verizon, M.I.T., Lucent Technology, Fujitsu, State of CA, and The C.I.A. In 2014 his work won the prestigious CODiE(™) award for Best Sales & Marketing Intelligence Solution.
Rob works heavily with ShopSite and uses his own creativity to find innovative solutions with ShopSite. Working in a hybrid of Perl/PHP and JQuery he frequently brings even the most complicated custom requirements to fruition.
Rob is also the founder and lead architect of Webdata Pro, a MySQL solution that strives to put more app building power into the hands of designers with point and click member and database tools. According to Rob, “Using our own software, we can often write solutions for our clients in 1/10 the time it would take to build it from scratch, and still customize the code as needed.”


Bill Ostaski

Custom Programmer

Bill Ostaski, Senior Programmer, studied Java at Sun Microsystems in 1999 and manages a web hosting business he started in 1995. His areas of expertise include Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, database design and administration.
As a Programmer, Bill has provided innovative solutions on more than seventy complex projects for over fifty clients since actively joining the Digital Design Solutions team in 2005.

Brian Hong

Custom Programmer

Brian Hong, Custom Programmer, has 10 years of web app development including PHP, CSS, HTML5, MYSQL, and Javascript.


The DDS Design Team is a multi-talented group of women composed of Merit Lee, Cristan Raz, Tonja Laing and Tara Jones. Their collaborative creative strength lay in their combined individual skills. Whether your needs are branding, logo, print collateral, PowerPoint presentations, website design, blogs, mobile apps, Constant Contact, or business cards; we can develop the relevant and professional products you need and your clients expect.

Digital Design Solutions was founded in 1996 to provide top-notch web solutions that fit any business needs. We have evolved as the premier source for E-Commerce set-up and management. Our stunning and visually appealing designs blend functionality with innovation ensuring the site showcases your business and targets your future.

We recognize that your online presence is a strategic asset. Well conceived website design combined with product branding is integral to successful marketing and growth, whether E-Commerce or brick & mortar. Digital Design Solutions will develop a formidable on-line presence. Whatever your product, market, or niche!

Merit has developed a team that covers all forms of marketing, website design, maintenance, custom programming, Search Engine Optimization, and content development. We are a full service web site development company with unsurpassed customer service and the personal touch of someone to talk to for your website needs.