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The Road to Palm Springs


Richard Zuschlag
Acadian Ambulance Service

At 23, Richard Zuschlag was motivated to save lives. Hs entrepreneurial spirit has led the company he founded to save many.  He founded Acadian Ambulance Service in the 1970s after a federal regulation created an unintentional medical transportation vehicle shortage in the US. Thirty-four years later, Richard faced his greatest career challenge. That’s when Hurricane Katrina left much of New Orleans underwater, unprepared and desperately in need of medical transportation service.

Richard and his steadfast team quickly personified the compassionate life-saving principles of Acadian. For the next 18 days, they continuously manned the Lafayette Parish dispatch center, assisting federal and local officials in their efforts to help local residents and other first responders.  Their tasks included coordinating the transportation and delivery of vital medical equipment, food and water to stranded individuals. They also evacuated hospitals and rescued families from rooftops.

Inc. magazine recognized Richard for these efforts in 2005. Yet he feels honored simply to lead a dedicated, community-minded team that provides vital service for the sick and injured. Community is integral to Acadian’s culture. Richard’s contributions include developing the Lafayette 911 system, leading fundraising efforts for many community organizations and serving on numerous boards and committees, such as the Bush-Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund committee. 

Acadian’s community commitment includes Andre, their child education safety robot, and the Standbys medic program that provides emergency care at local high-school and college athletic events.