Teen Career Tips – AV is Rich in Opportunities

by Kimberley McGee
AV teen career tips from business owner and former backstage techie.
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Each week I talk to local professionals to get an inside glimpse into what they do and ask them to offer advice to teens who may be considering a job in that field. Teens homeschooling in Nevada and considering college or moving into a trade school can get to know more about the career they intend to pursue. I’ve recently spoken to an actress and writer, NEAT Services and a marketing director at the YMCA. I also spotlight local teens each week who are entrepreneurs, leaders or influencers in the community. Want to be featured? Email kim@vegaskidszone.com!

He received a lightning-fast lesson in the magic of technology backstage at a hit Strip show, learning from pros about how audiovisual could enhance an experience and make it magical. Christopher Sterle, CEO and Owner of Acoustic Design Systems molded that tech training, among others since starting in AV as a teen, to bring amazing experiences and expert systems to homeowners and businesses across the valley. ADS creates integrated systems such as home theaters, smart home automation, sound and visual systems for commercial or home use, security and monitoring and much more.

Sterle talks about how he continued to grow and seek new experiences to enhance his knowledge from the many positions he held to become a premiere audiovisual service in a constantly changing market and his greatest moment, when he realized his work was valued and someone believed in him and his abilities.

How did you get started?

I was born and raised in Mentor, Ohio, and attended Lakeland Community College. I began my audiovisual (AV) career the in 1995 when I began selling and installing home electronics for a “big box” retail store. While there, I attended training classes for various AV manufacturers, learning all aspects of their products and capabilities.

After realizing I had a passion for the industry, I decided to pursue home electronic installations full time and joined a local company that specialized in home AV and custom installs. I relocated to Las Vegas in 1998 where I became a field manager for a local home AV company. For two years, I worked closely with customers and delved deeper into the custom AV field.

In 2000, I joined the Las Vegas show “EFX” at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, learning more about professional AV gear and installations within commercial environments. I left the show a year later and began planning and building the foundation to start my own company. I launched ADS in 2003.

ADS helps teens in the Las Vegas community.

ADS is dedicated to helping the community and works with a variety of charities.

What inspires you?

Seeing people grow as individuals inspires me and continues to motivate me to keep working hard every single day. Our employees are family and watching them learn and grow in the career and personal lives brings me the utmost joy.


What have you gained from your job?

I’ve gained an extremely rewarding career that I love! I enjoy seeing my business grow and my team continue to learn and grow every day. It’s rewarding to know that I have built something in which people enjoy and look forward to coming to work and learning every day.


What are the top 3 skills required to do what you do?

The top 3 skills required in my position are the ability to motivate people (an entire team of people), the ability to problem-solve and recognize and fix inefficiencies, and being able to relate to every type of personality, whether it is an employee or a customer.


What were the biggest hurdles to building your business? How did you overcome them?

The biggest hurdles I faced was finding the right niche market that our company fits inside of that supports profits and personal fulfillment. It took a long to time gain the book of business we have today. To overcome the hurdle, I spent time talking to other people in our industry about what has worked for them, talking to my mentors in business, as well as trial and error.


What do you think is the most memorable moment of your career?

The most memorable moment for me was the first check that I received from a customer. The fact that someone believed in me enough to pay me for the service I provided was the greatest moment. After 20 years, I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

Christopher Sterle shares tips for teens.

What other leaders do you look up to? Why?

I look up to anyone running multiple companies because they have put such faith into their employees running the company they built while they are not there – providing them the time to go start another dream and continue to build upon something else. That is not easy to do and kudos to them!


What advice can you give to someone who wants to enter your field?

Never stop learning! My industry moves very quickly, and it is critical to stay up to date with current technologies so you can stay relevant. Keep educating yourself and staying open minded to new ideas every day.


What are your future focus areas? 

I plan to continue looking and analyzing how we do business and working on better ways to be more efficient as we continue to grow.

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