Director of Operations
Courtney Smrdel serves as the Director of Operations for the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit established to support the future USS Cleveland (LCS 31), the fourth ship in U.S. history to be named for the City of Cleveland. In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations for the Foundation, she continues to advance our volunteer, education, and sailor support programs.
Although Courtney considers herself a native of the Pacific Northwest, her family moved to Missouri when she was in high school. After attending college at Southwest Missouri State, she decided to enlist in the Navy in the winter of 1999. Courtney started her career in Navy Intelligence, serving in Pensacola, Fla.; Sugar Grove, W. Va.; San Angelo, Texas; Kunia, Hawaii; and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii aboard the USS Port Royal (CG 73).
After 12 years she decided to shift her profession from Cryptologist to Navy Career Counselor, serving the last half of her career in northeast Ohio as a hometown recruiter. Her assignments throughout that time include Director of Onboarding, Officer Processor Lead, Chaplain Program Manager, Reserve Officer Program Manager, Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Program Manager, Equal Opportunity Manager, and Assistant Security Manager. Courtney retired in May 2021, after 22 years of service.
Throughout her time in the service, Courtney found that her true passion was to help others, which eventually led her to work with the underprivileged, adults with intellectual disabilities, traumatized youth, and veterans. She has volunteered with Veterans Affairs, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, the Village Network, Haven of Rest, Akron Children’s Hospital, food banks, local charities, and churches.
Courtney holds an Associate of Arts from Chaminade University of Honolulu and a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security from American Military University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Executive Leadership from Liberty University. She also holds a certification as a Professional in Human Resources from the HR Certification Institute.
Courtney and her husband reside near Portage Lakes and have two adult daughters.