Originally created 02/28/01

Entrepreneur hits road in Cadillac ambulance



WATKINSVILLE, Ga. - Drivers in the Athens area who see a multilighted ambulance resembling an old station wagon barreling down the road have no reason to pull over and let it pass.

It's only Tony Fortmann, a visual-productions and music promoter, making his rounds.

Three weeks ago, Mr. Fortmann, 25, moved to the Fieldstone subdivision off Mars Hill Road. Already, the 1971 Cadillac has caused a scene.

"We cruise around, go to the grocery store, go to clubs, Wal-Mart," he said. "We get admiration...."

Getting the ambulance is a dream come true, Mr. Fortmann said, and he has managed to figure out a way to use the vehicle as a marketing gimmick for his company, Kiddazzle Visual Promotions.

"It gets a lot of notoriety, and with the lights it makes it very easily recognizable," he said. "People look at it and they go, `Oh wow. That's Kiddazzle Productions right there. That's whose ambulance that is."'

Mr. Fortmann bought the ambulance for $9,000 from a former volunteer firefighter in Nashville and has sunk an additional $3,000 in repair work into it.

Mr. Fortmann said his ambulance is the only one in the country with 15 flashing lights. It also might be the only one equipped with a generator. Mr. Fortmann, a disc jockey, hooks his sound equipment to the generator and cruises the streets, making music while a friend drives.

"I'll sit back there and I'll play music, and we'll be driving down the road and we'll have a good ol' time," he said.