Sterling is the owner of a large corporate laboratory in Nevada, and is the boss of both Wayne Szalinski and Dr. Charles Hendrickson. He is a kind man, and assists Wayne in returning his son, Adam, to normal.
Role in the film
Early on, Sterling is invoked as a threat by Dr. Hendrickson, who desires to take over Wayne's growth ray project. Sterling is mentioned as the only person who can remove Wayne from the project, though Dr. Hendrickson notes that Sterling is unlikely to listen to Wayne.
Sterling is seen in person in the middle of the film, after learning from Dr. Hendrickson, of Adam's growth, which was a result of being exposed to Wayne's growth ray. Dr. Hendrickson had been taking Adam to the laboratory for testing, only for him to escape from the truck after being exposed to the energy from power lines. Wayne arrives, and asks Sterling for a chance to return his son to normal, making a passionate speech about inventors. Moved by this speech and impressed by Wayne, Sterling believes him not to be the fool whom Dr. Hendrickson made him out to be, and personally fires Dr. Hendrickson.
Sterling would accompany Wayne and his wife, Diane, to Las Vegas, where Adam had headed. They attempt to return him back to normal by using Wayne's old shrink ray, but find that he will not remain still long enough. Eventually, Diane is made larger than him, and holds him still, though not before Dr. Hendrickson attempts to shoot him with tranquilizer cartridges. Sterling assists Wayne in getting Adam shrunk back to his normal size.
Later, after watching an angry Diane knock out Dr. Hendrickson for putting Adam in danger with a single punch, Sterling then calls for an ambulance. However, although he remains firm in firing Dr. Hendrickson, Sterling shows that he has a sense of humor when he jokes that Dr. Hendrickson was "overcome by the prospect of finding a new career".