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January 2023

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President’s Message

     Michael Glionna
  Michael Glionna, President

Happy New Year to all!!

In looking back on 2022, I can say it was indeed an extraordinary year as we rebounded from an unprecedented global pandemic and navigated our way through a severely disrupted supply chain.  We met all challenges head on and, as a team, we banded together to come out on top. 

I say that we came out on top because we recorded our most successful revenue year in company history, not only for Universal Canada and Universal USA as a whole, but in each and every one of our top-level business units.  That means we set a record revenue high in…

Canadian Brokerage
US Brokerage
Canadian Freight
US Freight
…and Distribution.

We also grew by another 22 employees and even expanded our space at head office by over 27%, at a time when many companies are cutting back on human resources and office space.  In the past 20 months, 7 employees have been promoted to Team Leader positions, 3 have moved up into Manager roles and 3 have risen to a Director position.

Due to the wonderful success of our Ignite team over the past 7 years, which ultimately produced our team of 6 Directors (Brian Rowe, Chris Cartan, John Leis, Debbie McGuire, David Lychek and Janice Ilkay), we decided to form a sub-committee of Ignite.  In doing so, we have created our LEAD Team (LEAD stands for Leadership, Engagement, Action and Development).  This group, which includes team members:  Melanie Basu, Lukas Hamann, Cody Keser, Vincent Kwong, Maryam Mehrdad, Kathleen Pope, Veena Ramesh, Pamela Randolph, Tina Scharnberg, Monse Vazquez and Anthony Zitko… will be actively working to assist our Ignite team move the company forward in the months and years ahead.

In 2022, we took what we learned from the pandemic, where you demonstrated tremendous creativity, resilience and independence and, this past July, by very popular demand, we launched our Hybrid Working Arrangement (HWA).  This has allowed everyone to gain some better work-life balance by working from the comforts of home two days per week.  From the company’s standpoint, our HWA program has been a fantastic success and we appreciate everyone’s commitment to making it work.

With the pandemic restrictions finally lifting in 2022, it was very refreshing for us to partake in company social events once again.  On July 16th, over 200 employees and family members gathered for a fantastic day of good eats, good fun and wild animal viewing at the Toronto Zoo.  Then, on December 16th, we had an excellent turnout of 65 employees fully engaged in a lively and fun Christmas Party event at Stonefire Restaurant in Thornhill.  After two long and challenging years of pandemic shutdowns and isolation, it was so gratifying to reunite as a group, with families in the summer, and with colleagues last month, to enjoy some fun social time together away from the office.

As an employee group, you also demonstrated exceptional generosity during this year’s Hockey Helps the Homeless fundraising campaign.  You absolutely exceeded all expectations with an incredible total of $37,566 dollars raised for 360Kids and Blue Door.  That’s an amazing 42% increase over last year’s total which, in itself, was a record high at the time.  And you did all this through teamwork, creativity and a zest for having fun.

As we prepare for the coming new year, we want each of you to feel that you have made the right choice in selecting Universal Logistics as the company to work for.  We want you to feel safe, healthy, valued and appreciated.  We want you to feel you can learn, grow and build an exciting career path.  And we want you to be engaged in your company life as part of the Universal family.

Our LEAD team is anxious to review the results of our recent employee survey, where we asked you to help us identify areas in which Universal is excelling, as well as areas that need improvement with regard to employee engagement and satisfaction.  In 2023, we look forward to using your feedback as a springboard into enhancing the Universal experience for all employees.

Coming off this record year, and with such a dynamic and talented team in place, the future is indeed very bright for our company as we enter into the new year.  We certainly plan to keep our 73-year winning streak intact.  That’s 73 straight years of turning a profit… and counting, a track record of success that would not and could not happen without you, our people.

As I remind everyone each year, I am 100% sure we have the number one team of people in our industry.  It’s a group that is hard working, conscientious, caring and committed to working together as a team to achieve great things.  The vibe I get in interacting with you is extremely positive – it’s fun for me to come to work each day.

On behalf of myself and my brothers, David, Mark and Paul, I would like to thank each and every one of you for putting forth such a tremendous effort for our company.  We truly consider ourselves lucky that you have chosen to work with us, and we are proud to call you part of our Universal family!

Both personally and professionally, I wish each of you the very best for this New Year!

Michael Glionna, President
Michael Glionna, President

Holiday Wrap-Up

While we didn’t host the traditional Children’s party this year, we kicked off our 2022 Christmas celebrations by offering Gingerbread Kits to each child of our Universal employees!  The Events Committee organized and distributed these amazing kits, provided by Parties Made Simple.  Check out some of the creative masterpieces below.

  Alice Yan

Alice Yan

  Hailey Hwang

Hailey Hwang


Sharon Fong’s Daughter, Morrigan (2)


Alice Yan      Yoona Lee

Mandy Chan’s Nephew, Ewan (12)

  Yoona Lee

On December 16th, after a 2-year hiatus, we were able to once again have the Office Christmas Party at Stonefire Bar and Grill.  Universal booked the entire restaurant for the event, DJ’d by “Trick” Sarmiento & “El” Velasco of Trickel Down Productions.  The party featured magic by the amazing Wij Siva who entertained us during cocktail hour, party games by Games Masters Alice Yan & Sharon Fong, service award presentations by Michael Glionna, and dancing after the formal sit-down dinner.

Christmas Party 1    Christmas Party 2

Monse Vazquez, Irina Moskvitina,
Yunji Park, Dave Lychek & Andrew Doick


Keitty Oliveira & Sharon Fong

Christmas Party 3    Christmas Party 4

Cathy Fong (Read: Brian Rowe)
& Maggie Gragasin


Formal sit-down dinner

Billiam Rowchez    The Branch Bros

Billiam Rowchez

  The Branch Bros

Universal’s success is based on the skill, commitment and loyalty of our employees, and the Christmas Party is the perfect opportunity to recognize and celebrate our coworkers.

The Universal employees reaching major milestones this year were Tina Scharnberg (20 years), Chris Garland (15 years), Marina Mescerjakova (15 years) and Wendy Nigro (15 years).

Tina Scharnberg    Wendy Nigro

Tina Scharnberg

  Wendy Nigro
Marina Mescerjakova  

Marina Mescerjakova

Congratulations again Tina, Chris, Marina and Wendy!

Just a few days later, on December 20th, Head Office employees continued their holiday festivities by reviving another annual tradition, the Christmas Pot Luck!  This year hosted by our Accounting and IT Teams, everyone in the office made ample contributions, overflowing the lunchroom and putting dessert into the newly renovated section of the office.  Head Office employees had a great time selecting the winners of the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, Alice Yan & Sharon Fong and Vincent Kwong, and the Decorate your Cubicle contest, Mariana Minero & Keitty Oliveira and Lukas Hamann.

Santa Brenda 2022

Santa Brenda

We would also like to thank everyone for their generous donations to Toy Mountain and the Vaughan Food Bank.

Something’s Brewing
Contributor: Alice Yan

Get Out of the Cold – Explore Trendy & Classic Entertainment Venues

When cold air hits, it gives you a chill that reminds you that it’s time to bundle up and bring out your heavy jackets.  This, of course, makes it hard for you to do anything outdoors.  But, if you’re looking for something fun to do while hiding from the cold weather, check out these 9 indoor activity venues.



Futuristic Neo GamingActivate:  This is the world’s first active gaming facility.  With 6 locations in both Canada and the U.S., you can play arcade-style games by actually jumping, climbing, and dodging to test your physical and mental endurance.

Stress Release BATL (Backyard Axe Throwing League) Axe Throwing:  Although this is not an emerging game, it is a good way to release your stress.  With over 15 locations across Canada and the U.S., your stress and the gloomy winter will be thrown far away with the axe.

Classic ChoiceSnakes & Lattes:  Enjoying a fun session of board games is surely warming and cozy on a cold day.  Snakes & Lattes is the first and biggest board game bar and restaurant across North America.  They offer different choices of coffee, craft beer, and snacks as well as classic or newly released board games.  Their staff are also experts at finding you the perfect game for your mood while also being more than happy to teach you the ins and outs of how to play.


IFLY Indoor Skydiving

Let’s FlyIFLY Indoor Skydiving:  It might be thrilling for some to risk their lives and jump out of a plane in pursuit of an adrenaline rush and the feeling of flying through the summer air.  But now, you can get the same feeling a few feet off the ground in a wind tunnel with winds of over 1,000 mph at IFLY.

Get SportyALLSPORTS SIMULATED Eatery & Bar:  There’s no need to be upset that you can’t go out and play sports like you do in the summer.  Go and check out the largest sports simulation spot in the Niagara Falls area.  Their simulator has 14 sports built in, allowing you to accurately simulate pitching, football passes and field goals, soccer strikes, slap shots and more!

Reach New HeightsClip ‘n Climb Windsor:  At Windsor’s newest indoor attraction centre, you will definitely have lots of fun with 36 climbing adventures to choose from, plus more super climbing challenges.  A great place for the whole family and people of all ages!


Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park

Indoor Fast and FuriousRay’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park:  There’s good news for bike lovers, you can challenge your biking skills at the world’s first and largest indoor bike park located in Cleveland.  Ray’s is built in an old factory building, filled with all styles of riding paths.  Open from the first weekend of October to the last weekend of April each year, it is an ideal place to ride out your energy for winter time.

Fun & FitnessPlay CLE:  If you’re looking for a place to mix fun and fitness, Play CLE is the right place for you.  A large adventure park with a unique mix of attractions that will have kids and adults alike challenging themselves and others in a social and active assortment of games.


5 Wits Buffalo

Be part of the game5 Wits Buffalo:  As immersive experiences become increasingly popular, you now have the chance to play a starring role in your own adventure.  Each adventure places you in physically immersive sets – no virtual reality here!  Your group will encounter hands-on tasks, puzzles, and challenges.

 Question: After having fun, it is time to get some rest.  Which Countries get the Most and the Least Amount of Sleep?

    Most / Least
. New Zealand / China
B. Belgium / Japan
C. The Netherlands / Singapore
D. Australia / U.S.A.

Click on the question above, submit your answer to Sharon, and you’re eligible to win!

Submission deadline
Friday, February 3rd (Noon)

$25 Tim Hortons, Starbucks or Amazon gift card for the 2 winners
(If more than two contestants have the right answer, we will pick the winning names out of a hat)

Kudos Corner

Kudos Corner

Kudos (Noun) – Praise & honour received for an achievement

Kudos Corner is a forum where Universal employees can recognize the efforts of their co-workers.  Bring forward candidates for Kudos Corner at your next Team Meeting or simply drop your Manager a line whenever you feel someone’s efforts should be recognized in Universal & You.

For this issue we received the following entries:

Submitted by Debbie McGuire of our Freight Solutions team:

Mandy Chan of our Freight Solutions team at Head Office volunteered to take the Air Dangerous Goods course after Stephen Hatton resigned.  With Stephen’s departure, the Airfreight Services team needed another employee with this accreditation, in order for us to handle Air Dangerous Goods shipments.  This course required in-person participation, so Mandy spent 3 days in Mississauga.  In addition to focussing on the course each day, Mandy managed to keep up with her own workload.  On a daily basis, Mandy is quick to assist her team when needed and is never afraid to jump in and help other teams (e.g. Ocean & Air Services).”

Submitted by Cathy Fong of our Freight Pricing team:

Pamela Randolph of our US Freight Operations team in Cleveland assisted Veena Ramesh with an urgent air shipment for our client Dempsey Corporation, which was destined to Canada but routed via the U.S. (Chicago).  Pamela tracked and traced the shipment, confirmed charges and provided status updates to Veena.  Originally, this cargo was destined for the U.S., so Pamela was involved from the onset.  We wanted to make sure this shipment went smoothly, given that we handle very little freight for Dempsey.  This was a chance to highlight our air service and Pamela, along with Veena, did a great job.”

Growing again

In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees.  We have new additions at Head Office.  Please join us in welcoming Nazrin Carim, Chloe Doan and Nicolas Gomez to the team!

Nazrin Carim            Chloe Doan
Name: Nazrin Carim
Team: Accounting Operations
Start date: January 9, 2023
  Name: Chloe Doan
Team: Customs Operations
Start date: January 16, 2023
Nicolas Gomez             
Name: Nicolas Gomez
Team: Customs Consulting
Start date: January 23, 2023

Book Buzz
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho


Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake is an electrifying novel that plays with memory and murder. 

Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there.  She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover that it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife.  That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in scribbled messages like graffiti:  STAY AWAKE. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands.

What did she do last night, and why does she remember nothing from the past two years?  Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life.  But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget―permanently.

A complex thriller that unfolds at a breakneck speed, Stay Awake will keep you up all night.

Culture and Entertainment
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Movies Nominated for Awards

After the pandemic upended two consecutive awards seasons, the 2023 Oscars should see a return to relative normalcy.  The 95th Academy Awards is set for March 12, 2023 in its traditional home, the Dolby Theater.  One prevailing narrative currently forming around the 2023 Oscars race for Best Picture is celebrating the films that have been vital towards keeping the moviegoing experience alive.


The Fablemans

The Fablemans
Available in Theatres

Directed and written by Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans is a semi-autobiographical story loosely based on Spielberg’s adolescence and first years as a filmmaker, told through the fictional Sammy Fabelman.  A deeply personal portrait of a 20th century American childhood, this movie is a cinematic memory of the forces, and family, that shaped the filmmaker’s life and career. 

A coming-of-age story about an isolated young man’s pursuit of his dreams, the film is an exploration of love, artistic ambition, sacrifice and the moments of discovery that allow us to see the truth about ourselves, and our parents, with clarity and compassion.



Available in Theatres

Tár (stylized as TÁR) is a 2022 psychological drama film written and directed by Todd Field, starring Cate Blanchett.  Blanchett plays the fictional Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composers and conductors, and the first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra.  The role was tipped, sight unseen, to be the one to win the actress her third Oscar.  

The film follows Tár at the height of her career, as she’s preparing both a book launch and much-anticipated live performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.  Over the ensuing weeks, her life begins to unravel in a singularly modern way.  The result is a searing examination of power, and its impact and durability in today’s society.  It received acclaim from critics, who lauded Blanchett’s performance, Field’s direction and screenplay, and its cinematography, editing, and sound design.  TÁR is the rarest of items: a prestige awards contender that’s also a genuine art film.  The narrative unspools in an insinuating, sometimes enigmatic way.


All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front
Available on Netflix

The 1929 publication of “All Quiet on the Western Front” was so controversial that the anti-war novel by German writer Erich Maria Remarque was banned in Germany.  Remarque was then stripped of his German citizenship by the Nazi party.  One hundred years later, the book has received its third film adaptation, in German, by director Edward Berger, and Germany could not be prouder.  

The story, about a 17-year-old German boy’s fervor to fight for his country against the French in World War I, has a golden history with the Academy.  A double nomination as Best Picture and Best International Feature Film is not out of the question with Berger’s direction, James Friend’s cinematography, production design by Christian M. Goldbeck and, most of all, the acting.

Health and Lifestyle
Contributor: Veena Ramesh

Intermittent Fasting

Happy New Year!  After consuming all of those goodies over the holidays, your body should be ready to begin fasting. 

There are several ways to fast.  Fasting is an ancient practise that has historical ties in both religion and survival.  Communities that fast for religion do so depending on the time of year, abstaining from certain types of food or eating altogether.  In some countries, fasting is a means to manage meager food quantities.  

Contrary to popular belief, intermittent fasting isn’t a modern practise, but one that dates back thousands of years, having gained popularity in present times as a way to lose weight – some even claim that there are numerous health benefits.  Modern intermittent fasting incorporates fasting into your daily routine, thereby allowing your body to rest and effectively turn food into energy.  It also encourages sensible eating within the eating window.

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.  Rather than specifying what to eat, it tells you when to eat.  There are several different methods of intermittent fasting, such as the 16:8 method, 5:2 diet, and alternate-day fasting (ADF).

To start intermittent fasting, it’s important to choose a method that fits your lifestyle and schedule.

The 16:8 method – Your eating is restricted to an 8-hour window (ex. from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and the remaining 16 hours are spent fasting.  

The 5:2 diet – You eat normally for 5 days and pick 2 non-consecutive days to restrict your calories to 500-600.

ADF – Alternate between a day of eating normally and a day of restricted eating.

Studies suggest many benefits to intermittent fasting, such as weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, brain health and longevity.


To Fast or Not to fast?

  Click image for larger view of full chart.

However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of intermittent fasting, and it may not be suitable for everyone.  Some people may experience side effects such as hunger, low energy, and difficulty concentrating while fasting.  It’s also important to make sure you’re not overeating and getting all the nutrients your body needs while following an intermittent fasting plan.

For people over the age of 40, intermittent fasting may be especially appealing as it may help reduce the risk of age-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  However, as with any dietary change, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting intermittent fasting, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions.

In conclusion, intermittent fasting can be a useful tool for weight loss and improving certain health markers, but it’s important to take your personal health and lifestyle into consideration.  While more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of intermittent fasting, it may be a useful option for people who are looking to improve their overall health and reduce the risk of age-related diseases.

Educational Achievements

Knowledge is what can separate you from the pack. It can take you as high as you want to go if you put it into action.”

The employees of Universal Logistics regularly receive industry training that is paid for by the company.  We are proud to recognize the achievement and success of our latest course and program graduates.

CIFFA Certificate Program

Yoona Lee

Yoona Lee (Head Office – Freight Pricing)
Completed first portion of CIFFA Certificate Program
– International Transportation and Trade.

Congratulations Yoona!

Amy Park

Amy Park (Head Office – Customs Consulting Services)
Completed CIFFA Certificate Program.

Congratulations Amy!

IT Corner

IT Corner

Getting started with Zoom Team Group Chat

With Zoom Team Chat, you can:

Send messages quickly to contacts, groups, or entire channels.  

Quickly find contacts, messages, and files, keeping knowledge and information at your fingertips.

Organize what’s most important by using starred chats, folders, and customized notifications to help you filter out the noise.
Send text, audio, and video messages, share files, emojis, screenshots, and more.

Group chats

Group chats are similar to 1:1 chats, but with multiple contacts involved in the conversation.  They are great for quick team discussions about short-term issues or decisions.

Additional members can be added by current members, but the discussion cannot be searched for or joined by outside users.  Since group chats do not require a dedicated name, as a chat channel would, they are searchable only by the names of members involved.

How to start a new 1:1 or group chat

To begin messaging with Zoom users:

  1. Sign in to the Zoom desktop client.
  2. Click the Team Chat tab Team Chat .
  3. At the top of the chat panel, click the new chat icon New Chat.
  4. Enter the name or email address of the Zoom contact you wish to chat with.  Add additional users as needed.
  5. Enter your message, then press the Enter key or click the send icon Send in the lower-right corner of the chat compose box.

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 Sharon Fong.

  January 2023

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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