How Being An Employee-Owned Company Has Driven Acadian’s Growth And Success

By Richard Zuschlag

Acadian Ambulance Service was founded in 1971 and has grown to become the nation’s largest and most respected privately held medical transportation company. What began as a small ambulance company in South Louisiana has expanded to include a diverse suite of services designed to offer the very best support and education in health, safety, security and transportation.

As we celebrate our 45th anniversary this year, I look at how far we’ve come from those first two ambulances and eight medics. Our company now comprises six divisions: Acadian Ambulance Service, Acadian Air Med, Executive Aircraft Charter Service, Acadian Total Security, National EMS Academy and Safety Management Systems.

I was one of the three original founders of Acadian. When my partners wanted to exit the business in 1993, we developed our ESOP program, and we continue to grow and excel. We currently have more than 4,000 employee-owners across the United States and internationally. Many of them are enrolled in our ESOP, owning approximately 80% of our company stock.

I believe that our employee-owners are more invested in their work when they’re participating in ESOP and actively contributing to both their retirement and our company’s future. We see an increased sense of pride when they feel like they are sharing in ownership of our company.

I would not be where I am today if I had not surrounded myself with such loyal and dedicated employees. I believe that the tremendous success our company has enjoyed is a direct result of our decision to become an ESOP in 1993. Our ESOP has helped us recruit and retain highly competent and compassionate employees, and for that I am truly grateful. We’ve had numerous employees mark 40-year anniversaries, and even more have celebrated 30 and 35 years.

Even with our expansions and growth over the years, our core mission remains the same: to improve the lives of our patients, customers and employees.

Richard Zuschlag was one of Acadian Ambulance’s three original founders, and is currently Chairman & CEO. He oversees Acadian’s six divisions, comprising Acadian Ambulance Service, Acadian Total Security, Air Med, Executive Aircraft Charter Service, National EMS Academy and Safety Management Systems.