The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Meet Your Bobcat Express Drivers

Charlie Gainey
Bobcat Express drivers pictured. (Left to right) Steve Sabine, Star Hemphill, Ric Mcqueeney and Herb Saucier.

Of all the employees on campus, there are some who are privy to many of our most closely guarded secrets, who know us by name and have borne witness to the bare musings of our souls. These are, of course, the Bobcat Express’s honorable drivers.

If you, the reader, haven’t had the lovely opportunity to get acquainted with a Bobcat Express driver (or nine), then this article can serve you well as an introduction to the hardworking people behind the madness.

Bobcat Express drivers are funny, witty, reliable and interesting in their own ways – and even if you’ve only gotten to know one or two, I can guarantee you that they have a finger to the pulse of our social lives more than many of us do. And so, without further ado, in no particular order, here are the fruits of nine interviews conducted with the nine currently employed Bobcat Express drivers who take time out of their days to ferry us throughout the beautiful Lewiston-Auburn metropolitan area.

Ernie Ashton 

Ernie Ashton is a jolly, outgoing individual who’s been with the Express for a full 21 years. Ernie worked as an elementary school teacher at the fourth grade level before joining Bates’s fleet of Express drivers. His hobbies include golfing, working around the house and walking – a lot of it.

“Last year,” Ernie confessed, “I walked 3,000 miles in 360 days.” That’s about 8.33 miles a day. When asked about spots for walking he recommended, Ernie highlighted the local beauty of Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary and the Riverwalk on the Androscoggin.

Ernie’s had his brush with fame, however. He was quick to bring up the fact that he was a part of the escort service for President Joe Biden when he visited Lewiston following the shooting. Ernie recounts that Biden said “I want you to stand next to me” when he took a picture with his escorts.

Ernie gave a bit more advice than the one sentence above. He elaborated that many students

Steve Sabine poses in front of the Bobcat Express. (Charlie Gainey)

just “don’t see the State of Maine when they’re here [at Bates].” So while Ernie loves meeting new students and driving around L-A, he encourages all of us to get outside and enjoy beautiful weather when it comes around.

Steve Sabine

Steve Sabine is a delightful man who’s been working with the Express for three years, going on four. He worked for UPS for 19 years before joining Bates’s fleet, so the stranded student can rest assured that he’ll get the work of driving done well.

His hobbies encompass golfing, hockey and soccer, and encourages all of us to live life by the golden rule – that is, to “treat people the way you want to be treated.”

His work with the express has exposed him to a thriving international enrollment at Bates which he expressed his deep appreciation for, saying that the “incredible international community” at Bates is a joy to ferry around and talk with.

Herb Saucier

Herb Saucier has been with the Bobcat Express more than 12 year. (Charlie Gainey)

Herb Saucier has been working for the Bobcat Express for roughly 12 years, and in that time he’s developed a marvelous sense of humor and a keen attention to students’ needs.

He worked for more than 20 years with the Lewiston Police Department as a Lieutenant, and for almost 20 more years for the State of Maine directly in the service of its Department of Health and Human Services.

His hobbies include golfing and NASCAR. He is a hardworking, dependable individual and The Student thanks him for his service – he’s bound to have interesting stories to tell whenever you swing by the Express. His advice was to “make the best of your stay [at Bates],” and he reverently observed that every student is “here for a purpose”– a purpose he can absolutely get you on the road to.

Zach (Zachariah) Brown

Zach is a capable and friendly employee with a killer taste in rock music and an even more splendid ability to take whatever comes his way with a level head and good driving skills.

He held many jobs, predominantly in driving, before working for the Bobcat Express, now for 2 years. His hobbies center around video and board games ranging from massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) to Magic the Gathering, and he was happy to recommend Assassin’s Creed for the student with a hankering for fun; he also watches anime and plays pool.

When asked for a spot of wisdom, Zach noted that “hobbies can lead you down some interesting paths too,” not just academics – and Bates offers plenty of campus-based interest groups, so I can’t underscore enough the importance of learning in and outside of the classroom. Don’t let school – amazing and crucial as it is – get in the way of your education, and so forth. Hobbies rock!

Rick (James McQueeny)

Rick McQueeney is an avid fish collector and has been with the Bobcat Express for just over three years.

For those ‘Cats who are in tune with Bates’s thrilling social media presence, McQueeny will be a familiar name. He has been working with the Bobcat Express for three years, with a two-year stint in Campus Safety which ended when his wife asked him to pull less night shifts.

Rick is a companionable man with a host of stories to tell. His career has taken him from service in the Marines to driving a tow truck and even working as a photocopier technician and his current hobbies are utterly fascinating: he keeps a 50 gallon fish tank and tends to a mélange of beautiful fish boasting the membership of cories (a type of catfish), rainbows, tetra, glowfish and a rather shy betta fish. He also gardens on a large scale bordering on farming and produces fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables for his family.

When asked to give some advice for Bates students – and this bears repeating – Rick simply said the following: “Go out and do some good, ‘cause this world needs it.”


Skid (Harold Savage)

Skid has been working for the Bobcat Express for two years, before which he worked with the Maine State Police on the wild roads spanning Vacationland. His hobbies mostly revolve around sports, and he is a wonderful individual to spend time with during his Express shifts. The advice he provided the Student was informed by his time with the State Police: “Keep being friendly,” he said, “and keep being happy, ‘cause we all know the world is quite a mess now.” With conviction, he urged that the reader “go from day to day” in being relentlessly joyful, something I’d have to agree with – the road continues and the driver decides which intersection to take each day.

Star Hemphill

Star Hemphill poses in front of the Bobcat Express.

Star is a familiar face to many Bates students, despite the fact that she has been working with the Bobcat Express for only two years – already, she’s made her mark on our community for the better.

Before working for the Express, she held jobs in security for private beaches in Connecticut and worked as a short-order cook. Her hobbies derive from her experience in culinary school, with a focus on trying new recipes and challenging herself, something which sometimes requires her to travel long distances to acquire less-available ingredients.

Star was humble in her advice-giving, stating that “all of you are miles ahead of me in terms of life; y’all are going to be great in whatever you do.” Pausing, she added solemnly: “just keep pushing.”

Bob (Robert L. Harnois, Jr.)

Bob has been working for the Express for 17 years, and for each one of them he’s attended to students’ transportation needs with vigor and passion. His many years on this earth have granted him a deep well of wisdom and experience from which to draw.

He worked as a schoolteacher at the high school level before joining the Bobcat Express, and taught both French and Latin; before that, he worked at the SD Warren Paper Mill, making roughly a dollar an hour.

He noted that he paid for his college education in the hundreds of dollars, lamenting that a dollar  “doesn’t go as far anymore.” His hobbies include golfing and tennis.

When asked to grant students some advice, he was down-to-earth: “get there a couple minutes early.” Whether the reader wishes to extend this advice metaphorically or simply use it to arrive at class on time is up to them.

Donald Cody

Donald Cody is a longtime employee of the Bobcat Express, having been with Bates for more than 10 years. He works extensively with CEL students, though his sharp wit and affable nature make him a must-meet for any Bobcat Express venturer.

He worked in driver’s education and as a drummer for a band before joining Bates’s fleet, and his hobbies are those of a man with plenty of experience and even more fun to be had each day. I was enthralled to learn that Cody is a pilot in his free time, flying Cessnas and working for the Civil Air Patrol.

When asked to dispense a modicum of wisdom, he quoted the elegant affirmations of Journey: “Don’t stop believin’.”


In the course of interviewing nine people – quite the undertaking when those nine people are constantly on the move – I was naturally presented with a set of themes which underpinned each interview. In terms of having a favorite thing about working for Bates, Bobcat Express drivers were universally happy to see the students and focused unerringly on the incredible diversity of the students they talk to. They love to talk to us, again universally, and are always happy to “find out where [you’re] from” and have a good conversation about it, as driver Herb Saucier opined. Rick was, like many others, quick to marvel: “I’m absolutely amazed by you guys.”

As far as having a least favorite thing about their Express service, drivers tended to lament the lack of new vehicles for their fleet and the aging condition of much of the Express’s service vans was demonstrated vividly a week ago during an ice storm which took every vehicle except one out of service for days.

The Express drivers also highlighted that they have a responsibility to function on a tight schedule, and so can’t generally afford to wait too long for students. Even that complaint, however, was overshadowed by instances in which some “students call for a ride and they don’t show up,” driver Star pointed out.

Regardless, many Express drivers contentedly noted that they had never truly “had a bad day” (driver Steve’s sentiment) working for Bates. They were stunned by international students: Star eloquently stated that talking to them “allows you to leave this country without leaving this country.” Truly, being “respectful and nice,” as Donald put it, is a panacea and a doorway to fruitful conversation.

The Bobcat Express’s jolly fleet of variegated and fascinating individuals is one which bears witness to many students’ secrets through deep conversations – the legendary “taxi cab effect” – and keeps all of us arriving on time to the appointments and celebrations of our lives. So here’s to the wheels which keep ‘Cats on the move – and keep us humble, with the knowledge that no job is too small, no task too vast, which can’t be tackled on the road.

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