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 25 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.
Tara Jones, Creative Director / Web Designer 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.
Michael brings 25 years of senior business experience with an overarching background in business strategies and technology, driven innovation and revenue optimization. Michael has founded several leading edge technology companies including Intensive Resources International, which focused on technology for building operations. As CEO and Founder for Vigilant Technologies, Michael specialized in leading edge security technology. He also developed multiple US patents for Ultra WideBand RFID, Video Analytics, GPS and VPN based Vendor Neutral Access Control. Michael then founded US Health Programs, a company focused on patient driven technology that delivered Behavioral Health integration to all verticals of the healthcare industry. As the Founder and Primary at The Alar Group Consulting, he has been hired to serve as a Fragmented CEO for multiple technology start-ups. For other Alar Group clients, he focused on marrying effective technology strategies with clearly identified business strategies, to improve operations and develop unrecognized revenue streams.
His industry experience includes B2B Innovation and Business Consulting, Public and Private Sector Companies, Information Technology, Healthcare (Medical Practice, Group Organizations, Insurance / Payors), Defense Related Security Technology (DoD, TSA, DARPA, FBI), Education (K-12 and University), Pharmaceutical, Clinical and Academic Research, Supply Chain Management, Venture Capital, Non-Profits, Tele-Communications and Aviation.
Michael’s educational background features an undergraduate degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. He continued his quest for knowledge with Post Graduate Studies in Leadership and Growth and Innovation from The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Social Media Director/Designer
Rachel is an active duty military spouse and a mom of two sweet boys (one has special needs). Rachel graduated from Florida State University in 2008 with a degree in Biological Sciences. She worked as a microbiologist, virologist and serologist from 2008-2017. Rachel worked with the Florida Department of Agriculture, the Florida Department of Health and the CDC!
In 2017, she resigned from her career as a microbiologist to care for her special needs son. That then prompted her to start her own business as a certified Fashion Stylist. She has always had a passion for style, fashion, color and design.
Rachel is also a certified Social Media Director and has several years of experience in the social media marketing world. Rachel is constantly training and studying the ever changing trends and algorithms of social media to ensure that each client’s presence stays in front of their market at all times.
She is beyond excited to combine her love for science, fashion, style and design, to work alongside an incredible team here at Digital Design Solutions!
Social Media Marketing & Project Manager
Melissa has worked in the internet technology field for 21 years. Melissa graduated from Benedictine University located in IL in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. She immediately went on to receive her graduate degree in Software Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Melissa worked at Argonne National Laboratory, Motorola, and Citibank. Melissa worked as a front-end developer and user research lead throughout her career. She is a Certified Usability Analyst.
In 2012 Melissa created her own business, Jacksonville Business Connections, with the mission to help businesses connect to the community through various events hosted in the North Florida community such as Taste of Jacksonville, St. Augustine Vegfest, home shows, craft shows, and fun family-oriented events. Melissa enjoys connecting with local businesses and has her own monthly networking event, Business Directory, and podcast that spotlights local North Florida businesses.
Jerry Houman, is going back to his IT roots after being away for 5 years to own and successfully run 2 bed and breakfasts in St Augustine Florida. After attending DeKalb Technical institute in Decatur Ga. (Atlanta) Jerry worked in Auto Insurance and Healthcare I.T. and at those companies he held a wide range of jobs; from coding to documenting, you name it. So now he’s putting his 24+ years of computer programming, business analysis, project management, and systems training back to good use in the high-speed and high-viability industry of Website development. He’s here to help with your new website, or re-design the old one.
Project Manager / Web & Graphic Designer
Peter S has been working with Digital Design Solutions since 2010. Peter is a highly experienced Graphic Designer and Web Developer.
He brings skill sets in Design and Front-End Development. In his spare time, Peter enjoys spending time with his family.
Tonja Laing, Senior Web Designer & Administrative Assistant 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 creative website development from conception to implementation for a wide range of clients, including hair salons, photography studios, pharmacies, art galleries, dedicated sailing and power-boating boaters, 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. She loves what she does!
Advertising Expert, Content Creator & Creative Director
Peter Ancone has more than three decades of professional experience in the use of marketing and communications as brand- and practice-building tools. He has created ad campaigns and marketing materials for a wide range of commercial enterprises, professional practitioners, financial institutions and government organizations.
His areas of expertise include content creation, advertising campaign development, and creative direction in the areas of print, broadcast, outdoor/indoor billboards. Peter also has extensive experience in the development of marketing/sales support materials, such as presentation aids, trade show displays and sales literature.
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.