Meet the People who make it all happen

  • Robyne Lyles

    Co-Founder / Partner

    Co-developed FreedomCar concept with Mark while simultaneously bringing in an actual paycheck from a real job so everyone in the family could eat. Been the company’s secret weapon ever since. In charge of company finances and technology, Robyne designs and maintains all of the things that keep FreedomCar running in proper form, yet receives no recognition from anyone in particular unless things go wrong.  When not at work, she can be spotted at Roosevelt Park tossing around a disc, climbing at Movement, hiking in pretty much any park or hanging out at all her favorite restaurants in Hamdpen with Mark.

    Baltimore Cred: Park School Alum, UVA Alum

    Business Cred: MBA from University of Chicago

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Baltimore skyline, as seen from Northbound I-95

    Mark Thistel

    Co-Founder / Partner

    Mark was born and raised in Baltimore, and lives and breathes our City. The only thing more important to him than Baltimore is Robyne, their daughter Maeve, and FreedomCar, the company he and Robyne started (along with their marriage) in 1991. Mark, Robyne and Maeve now reside in “the secret center of the Universe” (also known as Hampden) in a 200-year-old historic home they brought back to life around 2007. Come visit! Mark loves visitors, but you’ll have to listen to his stories about the history of the place and that can take a while. He also loves running into FreedomCar clients at random locations and times around Baltimore—always a great experience that reminds him why he loves his job, this city and the people in it so much.

    Baltimore Academic Cred: Park School Alum, JHU Alum

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: The SS John W. Brown (WWII Liberty ship)

  • Portrait of Emily Brenneman

    Emily Brenneman

    Manager, Since 1999

    Emily’s been with FreedomCar since she was a youngin. Still younger than most of us, she’s Manager in Charge of Accounts, which means that if you owe us money, she’ll be calling you just about now. She’s a woman of many mysteries and likes to keep it that way, so is appearing on this web page only under protest. Duly noted, but you’re too valuable to hide, Emily.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: The Hippo Nightclub

    headshot of Suzette Smith

    Suzette Hemmings Smith

    Facilities Manager, Since 2012

    Since her hairstyle changes so often, the best way to recognize Suzette is by her awesome Jamaican accent. She was born there, so it’s not just for show. She knows how to tun up di ting, mon. Truthfully, you can’t keep this working mother of two (beautiful) children down, she’s utterly irrepressible and equally unflappable. Believe it or not, she finds being at work peaceful, which is hilarious to us.  And now that she’s in charge of our whole building, she has everything humming to a beautiful tune.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: The Inner Harbor

    Portrait of Rich Silver

    Rich Silver

    Manager of Operations, Employee Since 1994

    Rich is best known for buying our cars when they go out of service. That’s how much he loves them. He’s also our Operations Manager—the man to blame if your car is behind schedule which, fortunately, is a rarity. Rich manages the chaos that is an average FreedomCar day, making sure everyone—customers, employees, and our accountant—are happy. We do not envy him, but we certainly admire him. He’s the guy everyone loves to hate but can’t. To watch him work is to watch an 8.5-hour piece of performance art. As the employee with the longest tenure, we know Rich Silver is as good as gold. (Yes, we did have to say that.)

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Ravens Stadium

    Rodney Smith

    Rodney Smith

    Fleet Manager since 2022, Driver since 2013

    The saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. But Rodney can’t seem to stay away. After retiring from 28 years of firefighting, Rodney traded driving firetrucks for driving FreedomCars. (He just loves to drive…motorcycles and race cars, too.) He also loves his family. So in addition to keeping FreedomCar clients happy, he also works at his family bakery in Virginia. For some, holding down two jobs might seem like a bit much. But for Rodney, it’s as easy as pie. What can we say, the man just loves to make dough.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Druid Hill Park

    Portrait of Dan Stentz

    Dan Stentz

    Manager, Employee Since 2008

    Originally, Dan was the Manager of Everything No One Else Takes Charge Of.  Who are we kidding…he still is. He comes in early, makes sure everything is in ship shape before the the rest of us get out of bed. In a previous life he delivered newspapers, so I suppose this is just another day at the office for him, but can you think of anyone more valuable? Don’t tell him we said that.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: USS Constellation

  • Kirk Becker

    Kirk Becker

    Driver since 2015

    He’s practically famouse. (That’s not a typo.) You see, he was once considered for a job as Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney World. (Bet you didn’t see that comin’.) His other claim to fame was his hole-in-one. If he sounds like a lucky guy, he’ll tell you it was all skill. And we’ve seen his skill behind the wheel. That’s what landed him a spot on Team FreedomCar. His skills don’t end there. He also rebuilds steam engines. But if you really want to be impressed, you should see this guy pick a crab. Now those are some skills, hon.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Fort McHenry

    Bernie Bennett

    Bernie Bennett

    Driver since 2009

    Bernie likes to drive so much that even while off the clock he’ll often take a drive just for fun. He also enjoys eating and shopping at the Inner Harbor where he can take a ride on the water taxi. (What can we say, the man has a passion for transportation.) He loves to hit the restaurant scene in downtown Baltimore. When he’s not doing that, he’s hitting golf balls. Probably because he loves to drive that golf cart, too.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Inner Harbor

    Rebecca Brown

    Rebecca Brown

    Driver, Employee Since 2011

    Rebecca is a manager, a driver, a baker, and a bandage-maker. She’s most proud of getting her EMT certification…and we’re proud of her, too. We’re also always happy to be on the receiving end of her tasty, transportation-themed desserts to help us celebrate special events here at FreedomCar HQ.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Baltimore Zoo

    Charles Davis

    Charles Davis

    Driver since 2016

    A professional musician and vocalist since high school, Charles plays the drums in a band. His musical taste spans R&B, classical, country, light rock and jazz. In addition to the titles of drummer and FreedomCar driver, he holds what he considers the world’s three greatest titles: husband, father and granddad. You’ll notice husband is listed #1, perhaps because his wife’s chicken wings are what he considers the world’s greatest food.  

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Druid Hill Park

    Gregory DeGross

    Gregory DeGross

    Driver since 2016

    Gregory’s clients say he maneuvers intense traffic with ease. We think it might be because he puts so many puzzles together in his spare time. He also says he likes hunting wild turkeys because of the challenge, but they don’t rank above getting his hands on a good lasagna (served with iced tea, of course). He’s been married 49 years and his children and grandchildren are his pride and joy.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Washington Monument

    Michael Goodman

    Michael Goodman

    Driver since 2017

    Michael is very proud to wear the FreedomCar name on his shirt, but he’s also worn a few other impressive uniforms. He’s a retired Baltimore County police officer and he spent 15 years coaching his two incredible kids in lacrosse and soccer. Now we’re proud to have him repping our team.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Camden Yards

    Harry Gormley

    Harry Gormley

    Driver since 2015

    After 32 years in the banking industry, Harry decided a new career as a FreedomCar driver would keep his customer service skills sharp. When his hands are not on the wheel exceeding clients’ expectations, his feet are firmly in the sand at the beach.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Fort McHenry

    Portrait of Terry Greenawalt

    Terry Greenawalt

    Driver since 2011

    A Vietnam veteran (1968-69) it’s an honor to have Terry on our team. He was infantry, serving in the central highlands near the border with Cambodia and Laos. Now we simply know him better as the man who always wins our daily “This Day in History” game during lunch. Seriously, the man knows everything about what happened and when. He also garners some of our most enthusiastic customer reviews.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Fort McHenry

    Bill Lichtfuss

    Bill Lichtfuss

    Driver since 2014

    An avid connoisseur of the Reuben sandwich, Bill loves to talk about food, birds, music, or anything else that FreedomCar’s clients want to chat about. You’ll find he has a few “epic” tales to tell—who else can report hitting 14 green lights on MLK? The odds! Epic! Bill can’t sing a lick, though he does it anyway. But only in his favorite Baltimore landmark…and you’d have to be there at 0’dark hundred in the morning to hear it. We’re here to tell you, it’s…epic.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: The recessed dome ceiling in the lobby of The Inn at the Colonnade

    Glenn Rogers

    Glenn Roger

    Driver since 2018

    Glenn is an easy-going guy and likes to let FreedomCar clients lead the conversation when he’s driving. Glenn loves the color blue, not only because it was the color of his first truck, but also because of his love for the Baltimore Colts. He’s Greek by marriage and can often be found frequenting Baltimore’s Greek restaurants. Opa! When he’s not doing yard work or housework, he’s visiting his grandkids.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Memorial Stadium…it’s gone, but not forgotten.

    Scott Pahl

    Driver since 2018

    Technology is great, but he likes to kick things old school and have a genuine conversation with his passengers. He’s always happy to answer questions and tell you more about himself—whether it’s about his two (nearly grown) daughters or the Mt. Washington area of Baltimore where he grew up. In fact, if you’re in that area in the mornings you might see him walking around the lake so be sure to wave and say hello.

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: Institute of Notre Dame, because of the opportunities offered to the students and the way they use Baltimore as their extended campus.

    James Taylor

    James Taylor

    Driver since 2000

    No, not THAT James Taylor. But this James Taylor is famous in his own right. Awarded FreedomCar’s 2018 MVP (Most Valuable Player), James completed 1,163 of some of the most challenging assignments. While that’s WAY impressive, he’ll go down in history for being the guy who saved the FreedomCar garage from burning to the ground in January of 2018 when one of the shop vacs caught fire. How sweet it is to have THIS James Taylor on our team. He’s a handy man. (Get it? Because “How Sweet it is” and “Handy Man’ are JT songs. The other JT. Ah, nevermind.)

    Favorite Baltimore Landmark: FreedomCar HQ, ‘Cause He, Like, Saved It (2nd Fave: the Jonathan Barofsky male/female sculpture in front of Penn Station)