Lake Norman Publications

Retired Army officer named executive director of entrepreneurial organization

Rhana Kurdi takes over leadership of Launch LKN, based in The Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Davidson. /Doug Coats

DAVIDSON – LaunchLKN, a nonprofit serving the local entrepreneurial community, has named Rhana Kurdi as its executive director. The founder and CEO of a consulting and business coaching company, she takes over the role from Erica Madden, who served the role since the organization’s founding in 2017.

Rhana Kurdi

After growing up in war-torn Lebanon at the beginning of its civil war, Kurdi immigrated to the U.S. and later joined the U.S. Army at 18 years of age. During her 22 years of service, Kurdi gained extensive global experience in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, where she served in numerous operational and strategic positions. 

“Rhana brings worldwide experience in leading and growing organizations,” said LaunchLKN Board Chairman John Hevey in a press release. “Her vast knowledge of building relationships across multifaceted communities complements LaunchLKN’s goal of growing partnerships to serve the diverse needs of the Lake Norman entrepreneurial community.”

Based out of Davidson College’s Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, LaunchLKN is a community who collaborates in sharing knowledge and motivating growth of the technology-based startup scene around Lake Norman. 

Kurdi moved to Mooresville last year after retiring from the Army as a senior Military Intelligence Officer and combat veteran. She led organizations with up to 300 personnel and managed budgets as high as $500 million. Kurdi also served alongside foreign militaries and managed relationships with intelligence agencies, U.S. State Department and various international corporations. Lastly, Kurdi oversaw rapid growth of Old Dominion University Army senior ROTC Battalion in Norfolk, Virginia.

Kurdi holds a bachelor’s degree from Chaminade University of Hawaii and a master’s from Troy University. Rhana was recently admitted to Oxford University’s Global Business program.

Rhana, who has lived in more than 20 locations during her life, says that her husband and three children are thrilled to have a permanent home in the Lake Norman area. 

“I’m excited to lead this amazing community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts,” she said. “LaunchLKN has brought senior executives and successful entrepreneurs together with aspiring founders and students. The results have been magical and there’s much more to come.”

Founded by then-Davidson students Andrew Ashur, David Danielson and Adrian Mayans, drone-based cleaning company Lucid got its start through mentorship from Launch LKN members. The company was recently hired to disinfect Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, home to the Falcons.

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