February 20, 2019—Acadian Companies Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag received the James O. Page/JEMS Leadership Award during the EMS Today conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
The award, presented by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, recognizes an individual or organization who exhibits the drive and tenacious effort to resolve important EMS issues or bring about positive change in an EMS system, often at great personal or professional sacrifice. It is named for the late Jim Page, who is known in the industry as the “father of EMS” and the founder/publisher of JEMS, among many other roles.
“Richard did more than just improve the delivery of patient care in Louisiana, he was instrumental in creating it in 1971,” said A.J. Heightman, editor-in-chief of JEMS. “He and two partners founded Acadian Ambulance to fill the void created by funeral homes leaving the ambulance business. EMS communications were primitive, ambulances were poorly equipped, and formal EMT training was nonexistent. But Richard was determined to give residents the best emergency care and medical transportation possible, and the advances and innovations came quickly. Over the past 47 years, Acadian has touched the lives of millions. Today, Acadian is the nation’s largest employee-owned EMS provider, now serving four states.”
Upon receiving the award, Zuschlag reflected on the impact Page had on Acadian. “Back in 1993, Jim was asked to name the nation’s best ambulance service – and he chose Acadian. A decade later, he repeated the accolade when he was the guest speaker at our annual paramedic luncheon, calling Acadian ‘America’s most innovative and reputable EMS organization.’ I’ll never forget hearing those words. They set the standard for our company, and we have worked very hard ever since to live up to them,” he said.
Acadian has grown from 900 employees in 1993 to more than 4,700 currently. Their ambulance fleet has expanded from 140 to almost 600, and daily transports have increased from a daily average of 560 to an average of 1,800 in 2018.
Zuschlag also credited every employee of Acadian for contributing to the company’s success and earning such a prestigious award. “In 1993, Jim helped set our company on the path we still follow today. That year, we also became an employee-owned company, which will always be among my proudest accomplishments. Our team members are more than just employees; they share the pride of ownership and have a true stake in our company’s success. They’re the reason I’m receiving this award today, and I couldn’t be more grateful to them,” he said.