Andrey reflects on career, connecting to students, playing music, running carousels around Terwilliger roundabout
For many Lewis & Clark students, the Pioneer Express shuttle provides essential transportation to Fred Meyer, a ride to downtown Portland or a journey to Sellwood on the weekend. However, our beloved Pio would not be around without the people who drive it.
Andrey is among the select few who drive the Pio and is popular among students. Before working for LC, he held a wide variety of jobs.
“I worked as a helper in stonemasonry, at Wally Park, doing security, and worked at a car sales magazine,” Andrey said. “But I worked with a shuttle company that had a contract with the school. I didn’t think I’d end up here originally, but now it’s just another route.”
Andrey has now been driving with LC for eight years. When in the driver’s seat, he gets to connect with his passengers.
“Sometimes, I don’t even talk to the students to connect with them,” Andrey said. “Sometimes I accidentally get involved with their life at that exact moment (while they are on the bus).”
He told a story about a boy and a girl who rode the Pio a while ago. In the time from getting dropped off at Fred Meyer and when Andrey came to pick them back up again, something more had grown in their relationship.
“I played a romantic song for them,” Andrey said. “They got on the bus together and were just chatting the whole way. And when we got back to Templeton, they had what might have been their first kiss.”
Connecting with college kids has also allowed him to think about the relationship between himself and his own kids.
“(During college) there is a disconnection between parents and kids,” Andrey said. “So when I started working here, I got interested in how younger people communicate in a different way. They respond to things differently than fully grown people. It helped me to create communication with my own kids.”
One of the other ways he connects with students is through his music. Andrey’s speaker plays a non-stop hit parade, which colorfully distinguishes him from other Pio drivers.
“Is this the one who plays Hollaback Girl all the time?” Gina Kennedy ’26 asked. “Yeah I know who we’re talking about!”
Many may be familiar with the wide variety he plays while driving, which could be anything from ‘oldies’ to electronic dance music.
“I like to do something to make life fun and happy,” Andrey said. “When I first started driving here, I started to play music on this really small speaker and the students loved it. I play different playlists depending on the mood.”
Andrey also hopes to introduce people to music they have never heard before, and has succeeded at that.
“I’ll have someone come up and have Shazam open and I’ll say, ‘Stop stealing my songs!’” Andrey joked.
Andrey also recognizes that college kids are still just kids at heart, despite being considered adults.
“Sometimes I’ll do this thing where I drive twice around the roundabout going back up the hill, and I call it the carousel,” Andrey said. “I always see people get excited when I do it, and I think it reminds them of childhood.”
Isa Simon ’26 can confirm that the ‘carousel’ is no lie. “Sometimes he’ll be like ‘Do you guys wanna do the carousel?’ which is going around the roundabout twice,” Simon said. “I enjoy that.”
Outside of his job at LC, Andrey dabbles in his many hobbies. He used to fix cars, has an associate degree in car engineering and once had an aviation business. He also enjoys art, especially photography. His love for it started when he was just 11 years old.
“I was so excited when my parents bought me my first camera,” Andrey said. “I took it everywhere. The first day I used five rolls of film.”
Through the years, he has thoroughly developed his craft. To take a good picture, he believes it is important to look at the world from a different perspective.
“Younger kids will just sit down and look at a ladybug or flower,” Andrey said. “It’s nothing to us because we see that every day, but they see things from a different angle. When little children start exploring the world, they look at objects from different ways and angles. Everything to them is new. Sometimes I lower my eyes to the ground like that and hope to see the world from a new point of view.”
Overall, Andrey has put much joy in the lives of others and had some very positive outlooks on life in general. His advice for young people is to “live life for yourself and never give up. If you fall down, be strong for yourself and get up.”