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December 2017

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Hockey Helps the Homeless Fundraiser

Thanks again to our wonderful employees!

     Hockey Helps the Homeless

Universal’s Hockey Helps the Homeless Fundraiser was a big success due to the exceptional effort of our employee group raising an amazing $5,140 for HHTH and 360 Kids!!  Making the donation even more significant was the matching amount of $5,000 added by Universal.

We had 40 employees who not only took part in our campaign by collecting donations, but also made generous personal donations.  And, just as importantly, we helped raise awareness of the serious issue of youth homelessness in Canada.  Our efforts will assist 360 Kids in providing homeless and underprivileged youth in York Region with a wide range of support to help them rebuild their lives.

Universal has an excellent team of employees, and it is absolutely no surprise that we took up this challenge to make a difference by giving back to those less fortunate in our community.  We are extremely proud and thankful to our team for getting involved in this most worthy cause!

ICT Cleveland is now officially part of Team Universal

We have come a long way since Universal Logistics was established in 1949.  On December 1, 2017, another exciting milestone in the company’s growth was reached – the official merger of ICT Cleveland with Universal Logistics.  The addition of our second U.S. office, now operating as Universal Logistics USA Inc., allows us to offer our clients a complete package of logistics services in the U.S. market.
Once again, we would like to extend a warm welcome to the newest Universal Logistics USA team members, Suzi Hudak, Leianne Malachin, Pamela Randolph and Ildiko Janecek.  As well, a big thank you for their hard work and dedication this past year during the sometimes difficult integration process.

The Experience of a Lifetime

By Oswaldo Arteaga, Office Manager – Toronto Airport

At the end of July, my son Rafael, his main coach and I, in my capacity as one of Rafael’s trainers,  travelled to Bangkok, Thailand to participate in the IFMA Muay Thai World Youth Championship, held from August 3 to August 11.

Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand.  It was developed several hundreds of years ago as a form of close-combat that utilizes the entire body.

IFMA Muay Thai World Youth Championship

The first few days in Bangkok were spent acclimatizing to the time zone change, while continuing the extensive training and keeping a closely monitored diet, in preparation for the tournament.

     Rafael Arteaga
  Rafael Arteaga

This event was very much like the Olympics, with IFMA being the governing body of Muay Thai.  There was a well organized opening ceremony and the tournament itself was filled with extensive media coverage.

Rafael had an exceptional performance and a close split decision loss to Turkey in the semi-finals, winning a bronze medal for Canada, in his first ever international tournament.

Please click on the link below to read the ‘Spotlight on Rafael Arteaga’ article that was published prior to the tournament.

We hope to have more opportunities to participate in international competitions in the future, and are currently training children to see if they, too, can take part in such an incredible experience.

IT Corner

We would like to officially welcome Zain Baig to our IT team.  Zain is a graduate of Seneca College’s Computer Systems Technology program, and has previously worked in Customer Service at Samsung and other retailers.

With the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, about to be released in theaters, it is only fitting we share a Hans Solo quote, “It’s not my fault”, which is something Zain will hear continuously from us all as he goes about his work at Universal.

Zain is also an avid car enthusiast who enjoys working on cars.  They say Autonomous Vehicles are going to dramatically change the world and with Zain’s technology background, it would not surprise us if he ends up building his own!
With Zain on board, we would like to remind everyone to use the IT Ticketing Program.  This ensures everyone receives the IT support they require in a timely fashion.  By following the procedures below, Janice Ilkay and Zain will be able to access and prioritize all requests which benefits all of us.

“All IT requests should be sent to the email address: with a cc to your manager. In the event that your email/computer is not working the email should then come from your manager. 

All emails will receive a response within two hours, acknowledging receipt of the request. Once we’ve assessed the problem you will receive another email with an estimated date that the request will be completed. 

In your email you should detail what the problem is with as much information as possible in order to prioritize your request. If your email is too general it may not get the appropriate priority.”

How (and why) to eliminate unnecessary email strings

     Do Not Reply All

It is convenient to use “Reply to All” when dealing with a group, but think twice before using the option.  For example, when you are one of multiple e-mail recipients, consider who really needs to hear your response.  In this situation, it probably isn’t necessary to hit the “Reply to All” button.

Most often, the original author of the e-mail is the only person who needs to be emailed.

If your message doesn’t need a response, let the recipient know. This can save time – theirs  and yours – and stop the cycle from continuing on in perpetuity.  Say something like “No reply necessary” at the end of your message or even in the subject line. 

Financial Tips – 10 Lessons To Share

The personal finance community can be quite intimidating.  Even those eager to learn can be afraid of asking questions and might not know where to start.  Rest assured that you are not alone.  Surveys show that only half of all Canadians consider themselves knowledgeable when it comes to personal finances.

It is not easy to talk about what we do with money, how much we save, how much we spend and the foolish mistakes we make.  With this in mind, we would like to share 10 simple financial lessons from “Boomer & Echo”, to help you build stronger financial habits and skills.

  1. Avoid credit card debt like the plague
    It is impossible to go through life without incurring at least some debt, i.e. student loans, credit card debt, a car loan, line of credit and mortgages.  Carrying a balance on your credit card is by far the most harmful to your finances.  

    Making the minimum monthly payment hardly puts a dent into the balance, and 19 percent interest ensures that balance will continue to grow.  Make it your prime financial target each month to pay down your credit card balance as much and as quickly as possible.  Once it is paid off, commit to never again paying one cent of credit card interest!

  2. Track your spending
    Many people are in denial about their financial situation but this only makes their situation worse.  To free up additional cash, you need to understand how much money comes in and how much goes out every month.  There is no other way around it – how else will you know what you can afford to save? 

    Whether you use a mobile app, budgeting tool, or good old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet, the point is to track every transaction until you know every month exactly how you spend your money.  By tracking your monthly spending habits, you can make informed decisions on how to reduce costs and increase savings.

  3. Automate your savings
    The key to building a life-long habit of saving is to make your contributions automatic and as painless as possible.  Pick a day that coincides with your paycheque and set up an automatic transfer into your RRSP, TFSA, savings account or RESP.  It is called paying yourself first.

    Start with as little as $25.00 and increase it annually, or as your budget allows.  This powerful strategy works because it treats your savings goals as ‘mortgage-like’ fixed expenses that come out of your account on a specific day.

  4. Save a percentage of your income
    Financial experts suggest saving 10 percent of your take home pay for retirement.  However, that is not possible for most people and, honestly, it does not matter – the most important point here is to save a percentage – any percentage – whatever you can afford, as long as you start with something and make it automatic.  Each year bump it up by 1%, and this way it will be much easier for you to reach your target.
  5. Invest wisely
    When you do find some extra savings, research shows that the most optimal way to invest is with regular contributions to a low cost, broadly diversified portfolio of index mutual funds or ETFs, held for the long-term.  When you invest regularly and over a long period of time, you do not have to worry about the short term ups and downs of the financial markets.
  6. Ask for a better deal
    Maybe it is in our polite Canadian nature to just accept the first offer that comes our way.  However, we are leaving money on the table when we do not ask for a better deal.  How good of a deal can you get?  That depends on whether you are negotiating the purchase of a high priced item or just trying to save a few bucks on your cable bill.  

    Just remember, the answer is always no unless you ask.  One or two questions can make a major difference in your bottom line, especially when it comes to big-ticket purchases like a home or vehicle.

  7. Avoid buying too much house or car
    Tens of thousands of dollars have been wasted because homebuilders and real estate agents invented terms like “starter homes” and “trading up”.  Buy a home that will suit you for the next decade or more, and stay put.  That goes for cars as well.  

    Everyone loves a new car as much as the next person, but if you cannot afford to pay it off in 3-4 years max, you cannot afford the car.  Drive your vehicle for a decade or more, so you can enjoy some car-payment free years.  Buying a used car will result in substantial savings as the depreciation in the value of a new vehicle the moment you drive it off the sales lot is staggering!

  8. Simplify your finances
    In attempting to optimize your finances, do not forget to account for the pain-in-the-butt factor – the time wasted researching individual stocks, hunting down credit card offers or savings account promotions, transferring money back and forth between a no-fee bank and a full service bank.

    There is something to be said for finding a simple solution that you can stick with, even if it is not the most optimal solution for your wallet.

  9. Do your research
    It can be intimidating to walk into a bank, car dealership or furniture store and wonder whether the person across the desk is looking out for your best interests or their own.  When the seller has more or better information than the buyer, it creates an imbalance of power.

    The more you know about the products and services you buy, the better the deal you will get.  As a general rule, when you do not have any specific idea of an item’s value, do some research.  Go online, investigate and ask around.  Not for every day decisions like the price of chewing gum, but if you want to save some money do your homework.

  10. Save on the big things, spend on the things you enjoy
    People often stress over gas prices, bank fees and cell phone bills, while ignoring some of the ways they can potentially save thousands of dollars.  If you enjoy an expensive coffee, then who cares?  Spend on things that bring you joy (or that save you time) and then try to save money in other areas to offset your splurges.

    Take out a variable rate mortgage instead of a 5-year fixed rate mortgage, avoid mortgage life insurance and other creditor insurance products, switch from expensive bank mutual funds into index funds or ETFs, avoid expensive name brands when a generic brand will do, and do not fall for deceptive or misleading advertisements.

Calling all Universal Employees!

We are looking for volunteers to contribute short articles to Universal & You.  Topics can be team or industry-related or you might want to share a personal experience (e.g. volunteer work or travel) with your fellow employees.

Please forward your ideas to Tina Scharnberg.

  December 2017

Universal & You is produced bi-monthly for the employees of Universal Logistics. Reader comment and story ideas are welcome. Comments of general interest to all Universal & You readers will, with the permission of the writer, be published. Copyright © Universal Logistics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction for any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

Universal & You is produced by Universal Logistics, Editor: Sharon Fong, email:

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained herein, Universal Logistics accepts no responsibility or liability for errors or omissions.

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