@Niels dBoer That is the good news. What does not work is the .desktop file and a way to add an icon to the menu. I am able to add the executable to the menu and launch it, but not show the application icon.
The .desktop is now corrected: I had a combination of minor errors in the .desktop files (some additional spaces seem to be the problem) as well as one additional step was needed which was to restart the lxde environment link text after the package install.
The attached link is the demo project and package file structure which I tested if anyone is curious:
To build the package, use
dpkg-deb -b Hello-1.0_0
from the base folder. Transfer Hello-1.0_0.deb with FTP to the Downloads folder on Pi and then install using
sudo dpkg -i Hello-1.0_0.deb
Once installed, reset lxde environment on the Pi