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July 2022

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Montreal Team, Bonnie Moore & Josie Tobia, Retiring

Josie Tobia
Josie Tobia

Bonnie Moore and Josie Tobia have worked very closely in tandem for the past 15 years to represent Universal in our Montreal office.  After wonderfully successful careers, both Bonnie and Josie have decided to retire at the end of July.  We’d like to share with the Universal team some background and memories about their time at the company.

First, Josie Tobia…

After almost 30 years in our industry, and over 15 years with Universal Logistics, Josie Tobia will be retiring on July 29th.  Josie joined Universal on February 19, 2007, as our Office Supervisor in Montreal, a position she has held through her career with the company.  During her tenure, Josie has done an outstanding job of overseeing our Montreal operation to ensure all office and client issues have been handled in the most effective and professional manner.

In managing our European ocean imports, Josie has built strong relationships with some of our longest standing freight partners, such as NAVIS in Germany, Seacon Logistics in the Netherlands and General Export in Italy.  These agents often present us with unique cargo to a variety of destinations beyond Montreal, including Toronto, Western Canada and USA.  It should also be noted that on ocean freight moving from Europe to Canada, the transit time is extremely tight (only 8 days sailing across the Atlantic Ocean), and therefore all aspects of handling a file are intensified.  Despite these challenges, Josie has always gone the extra mile by working evenings, weekends and doing whatever it takes to successfully meet our clients’ needs.

Josie & Justin
Josie’s chance meeting with our
Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Josie has also used her unique talent to speak fluently in both French and Italian to service our clients and agents at the highest level.  Over these 15 years, key clients such as Kalora Interiors, Herbstreith & Fox and Exacon, to name a few, have benefited from Josie’s genuine commitment to providing excellent customer service.

Everyone who has worked with Josie has experienced her engaging and friendly personality.  Always a positive, outgoing and social person, Josie has endeared herself to all people she crosses paths with.  Her co-workers at Universal, our clients and agents, even our own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, have all had the pleasure of encountering Josie’s wonderful charm.

And Now, Bonnie Moore…

Bonnie Moore
Bonnie Moore

After spending her entire working career with Universal – 41 years!! – Bonnie Moore will be retiring on July 22nd.  Last December at our Christmas luncheon, Michael Glionna presented Bonnie with the 40-year award and provided everyone with an overview of her incredible career with the company.  We feel the most appropriate way to present a memory of Bonnie’s time with Universal, is to reproduce the following excerpt from Michael’s remarks at that event…

Bonnie started out with Universal on July 23rd, 1981, as a “Clerk Typist” at our Montreal branch office.  After years of gaining valuable Freight Operations experience, in August 1995, Bonnie was promoted to Office Supervisor, taking on more of the Manager’s workload.  Shortly after returning from maternity leave, Bonnie was then promoted to the position of Branch Manager for our Montreal office in January of 1998.

Bonnie Moore & Michael Glionna
Bonnie receives her 15-Year award from Michael Glionna in 1996.

Facing the challenges of raising a young family, Bonnie switched to a part-time role in March 1999, moving from management to Sales.  And, 2 years later, Bonnie transitioned to a position with responsibilities in both Freight Operations and Client Relations. Finally, in September 2003, Bonnie moved back into a full-time role in Freight Operations, handling ocean freight, air freight, imports and exports, a position she continues to hold today.

Going back 40 years, Bonnie has truly grown up in our industry.  She has gone from handling everything manually with hand-written documentation, to typewriters, to computers; from communicating with clients and overseas agents via telex machines, to fax machines, to email.  As we have evolved as an industry and as a company, moving seamlessly through the various advances in technology, Bonnie has done so too, without missing a beat.  Most recently she mastered the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS)… not to be mistaken of course for CEWS (COVID wage subsidies for companies), or CERB (COVID financial support for employees out of work).  Yes, Bonnie knows how to use CERS for our exports, and she knows countless other acronyms the Canadian government has invented during her 40-year tenure with Universal.

I don’t believe there is any type of freight that Bonnie hasn’t seen or handled.  Ocean, air, truck… Import, export, domestic.  She is very well-versed on each type of movement, and she has always done a masterful job of handling our clients’ cargo.  Everyone at Universal has the greatest confidence that when they turn a shipment over to Bonnie, it will be handled professionally, efficiently and correctly.

Bonnie’s years in Sales and Client Relations gave her the experience of seeing things through our clients’ eyes.  It is no surprise therefore that she is able to address complex and challenging freight issues with our clients, and she always does so with a calm and reassuring demeanor.  It’s a talent that our clients really appreciate.  That same calm and level-headed demeanor is what endears Bonnie to her co-workers at Universal, who respect and admire her… and who have only good things to say about her.  According to Diane Richer, who has worked closely with Bonnie for most of her 40 years, even during the most challenging times like the past 2 years of a pandemic, and a completely disrupted supply chain, dealing with frustrated and demanding clients, Bonnie refrains from speaking negatively about anyone.  When she’s really at wits end with someone, she will simply say “well, that person is very special”.

According to Josie, Bonnie is a favourite of many of our oversees agents.  One in particular, Lamprecht in Switzerland, does a great deal of work with her.  Our key contact there, Noelia, is one tough cookie who rarely doles out compliments.  Well it was Noelia who said that she wants to clone Bonnie and put one of her into the office of each of her worldwide agents.  This is the level of respect that Bonnie has earned from our key global partners.  And it is easy to see why, whenever our agents come to visit us in Canada, they insist on spending time with Bonnie (and Josie) at our Montreal office.  Bonnie always ensures they are warmly received.

Outside of the office, Bonnie is very family-oriented and is an awesome Mom to her two children, Mathew and Chelsea, and devoted spouse to Brad.  Nothing gives her more joy than spending time with her family at their country home in St. Bernadin, Ontario, a hub for numerous family and friend gatherings.

I also discovered that Bonnie and Brad enjoy going to car shows and traveling around in their vintage Corvette and truck.  John Leis recalls the story of being picked up in a black muscle car during his Montreal visits to see our client, Polynt in Drummondville.  He was a little surprised to find Bonnie behind the wheel.

It was during these visits to Polynt where Bonnie’s talents really shone through.  Not only was she navigating a cool, black vintage car, but she showed off her French-speaking talents to alleviate any concerns our client in Drummondville, Quebec had in switching their business to an Anglophone company.  John just sat back and admired Bonnie’s professional and endearing approach as she won over this new account.  Not only that, but this saved the business we were already handling for Polynt, Ontario, because John had unknowingly put us into an all-or-nothing position when he stated we should consider taking over the clearances for their Quebec operation as well.

For 40 years Bonnie, you have been that employee who everyone can rely on, who everyone respects and admires, and who maintains a calm and confident demeanor under the everyday pressures of the job.  You are a person who everyone looks forward to seeing, to working with, because you make us feel comfortable and you make us feel good.

In Retirement…

Josie & Bonnie near our office in Old Montreal
Josie & Bonnie near our
office in Old Montreal
.

Outside of work, Josie has always been a big pet lover and, in her retirement, she has expressed an interest in working with a pet rescue organization.  She also plans to spend some quality family time with her daughter, sister and niece in Montreal.  Josie is most excited about her trip to France and Italy to visit relatives and extended family, and she takes off on August 2nd.

In her retirement, there is no doubt that Bonnie will be enjoying her 10-acre farmhouse near Vancleek Hill, Ontario with her family.  This country home holds great family memories for Bonnie and she very much looks forward to settling there.  At the same time, it will be the perfect home base for day trips to places such as Ottawa, Brockville and other nearby destinations of interest.  Bonnie and family are also keen to travel within Canada, including a visit to Banff and Jasper, Alberta taking a train through the mountains.

Bonnie and Josie, congratulations and thank you for all these years of loyal and dedicated service to the company, and for representing our Montreal office so well.  You were such a great pleasure to work with and we will all miss you both!  On behalf of the Glionnas and the entire Universal team, we wish you the very best of health and happiness in your well-earned retirement!


Universal Summer Family Event – A Roaring Good Time!

Zoo

Zoo

After 2 years of no (or socially-distanced) company events, we were finally able to get together again and celebrate in person with our colleagues at the Universal Summer Family Event.

On July 16th, over 200 Universal employees and their families made their way to the Toronto Zoo to see the animals, socialize, eat, drink and have a good time.  We had attendees from our Head Office, Airport, Fort Erie, Niagara Falls and Windsor branch offices, as well as Bassam Elghaziri and his children from our U.S. office in Buffalo.  The weather was more than cooperative – sunny and close to 30 degrees – perfect for enjoying the Zoo.

Zoo

Those who dared, got up close with a snake during the event, brought in by the Zoo’s Outreach & Discovery team.

Zoo

After a fantastic All You Can Eat BBQ lunch, the Events Committee handed out gift bags that included cooler bags for the adults, gift cards for the children and tiger-themed bucket hats and candy for everyone.

Zoo

Zoo

Then it was time to explore the Zoo grounds, which most attendees took advantage of – at least according to reported sightings of colourful bucket hats throughout the afternoon.

  Click Here to View More Photos


A Smooth & Successful Start to the Hybrid
Working Arrangement!

Contributor: John Leis

Monday, July 4, 2022 officially marked the launch of Universal’s Hybrid Working Arrangement (HWA).  For those qualifying team members at our Head Office who have elected to take advantage of the HWA program, the hope is that they will enjoy the immediate benefits and flexibility that comes with being able to operate out of their own home 2 days of each 5-day work week!

This offering, designed to improve the work and homelife balance for our employees, is an exciting opportunity that we are proud to make available to any and all qualifying team members in the weeks and months ahead.  If you have any questions or for more information on the HWA, we encourage you to speak with your Manager.  To ensure the success of this initiative, we strongly encourage everyone to check out the July edition of the Manager’s Tip of the Month, outlining tips for establishing a productive home working environment!


Something’s Brewing
Contributor: Alice Yan

Rollercoasters – Get ready to scream

Nothing comes as close to a fun-filled day with the family at a theme park as experiencing a ride on a rollercoaster, which will also get your adrenaline pumping.

Rollercoaster

Let’s talk about physics…
A rollercoaster moves in the same way a marble would roll down a slanted surface.  The marble rolls because it has Gravitational Potential Energy.  Potential Energy is gathered by an object as it moves upwards, or away from the Earth.  Several forces are felt when riding a coaster:

  • Positive G – typically occurs on banked turns or when the train pulls up a hill after going down a drop.
  • Negative G – typically experienced when a train crests a hill at speed, or suddenly dips sharply downwards.  Negative Gs are considered to be the most fun G Force but also the most dangerous.
  • Lateral G – occurs when a train goes around an unbanked corner, or a corner not banked far enough.  This is commonly experienced when riders are abruptly forced sideways.
  • Linear G – occurs when a coaster launches very quickly in a straight line.  The human body can tolerate high levels of Linear G forces.
Rollercoaster

Thrilling & Fun facts about Rollercoasters

  • The world’s fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa, is located in Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World theme park and launches its riders to a top speed of 149 miles per hour.
  • The world’s tallest rollercoaster, Kingda Ka, is located in the Six Flags Great Adventure Park in New Jersey, reaching a whopping height of 465 feet!
  • For your information – rollercoasters are statistically far safer than other common activities we engage in on a daily basis.  According to the U.S. National Safety Council, there’s a one in 24 million chance of getting seriously injured on an amusement park ride.  You have a way better chance of dying from falling out of bed in the morning – a one in 423,548 chance to be exact.
Rollercoaster

Thrill seekers Wanted – Top Rollercoasters in Canada and the U.S.

  • Kingda Ka & El Toro – Six Flags Great Adventure Park, New Jersey
  • Top Thrill Dragster – Cedar Point, Ohio
  • Yokon Striker & Leviathan – Canada’s Wonderland, Ontario
  • Vampire & Goliath – La Ronde, Quebec

 How many times do you need to ride a rollercoaster in 24 hours to break the world record?

A. 118
B. 55
C. 75
D. 74

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

Submission deadline
Friday, July 29, 2022 (Noon)

Prize
$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 Marion Bradnam of our US Customs Operations team:

“Mark De Luca of our US Customs Operations team in Buffalo has recently switched from handling truck clearances to handling ocean and air clearances.  He is doing a great job in managing this new role.  Mark is organized and focused on processing clearances with accuracy.  He always has a “can do” attitude, and will regularly put the office needs ahead of his own.”

Submitted by Mark Glionna of our Executive team:

I would like to compliment Maryam Mehrdad of our IT Solutions team at Head Office on her outstanding work on taking the initiative to redesign our company website – on her own time!  The work she has done so far is really impressive – and I’m sure she’ll prove to be a valuable part of the team that undertakes our full web redesign project in the coming months.


Growing again

In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees.  We have new additions at our Fort Erie and Airport branch offices and our Head Office.  Please join us in welcoming everyone to the team!

Brianna Murray Roshin Sebastian
Name: Brianna Murray
Team: Canadian Customs
Operations (Fort Erie)
Start date: May 24, 2022
Name: Roshin Sebastian
Team: Distribution Services
(Toronto Airport)
Start date: June 27, 2022
Hailey Hwang Keitty Oliveira
Name: Hailey Hwang
Team: Ocean Services
(Head Office)
Start date: July 4, 2022
Name: Keitty Oliveira
Team: Freight Solutions
(Head Office)
Start date: July 5, 2022
Sharon Fong
Name: Sharon Fong
Team: Administration
(Head Office)
Start date: July 11, 2022

Book Buzz
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming….

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Nora Stephens’ life is books – she’s read them all – and she is not that type of heroine.  Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.  Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away.  There Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish, brooding editor from back in the city.  It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again – in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow – what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.


Culture and Entertainment
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Apple TV+ Shows

Since its 2019 launch, Apple TV has slowly built a worthy library, especially for its lower price subscription ($4.99 per month).  This list includes excellent shows, sitcoms and some neat surprises.  While Apple TV+ is not common on most people’s streaming services list yet, the Spring 2022 lineup suggest that that you need to consider it adding it now.

Severance

Severance

These days, little in our personal everyday lives is more frustrating and relatable than a poor work/life balance.  Severance asks, “But what if there was another way?”  Not by developing a healthy balance or seeking therapy.  But by severing the nerves in your brain that connect your work and non-work memories.  This mind-boggling premise is at the center of Severance.

Adam Scott’s Mark Scout is one of the many worker-bees at Lumon, the company that performs severance on its employees, who then live two lives.  Your “innie” lives a life of only work, while your “outie” doesn’t know anything about their day-job and lives the rest of the life.  A less satirical and more horrifying spin on Black Mirror, Severance is replacing Ted Lasso as Apple TV’s most heralded show.

Shining Girls

Shining Girls

In Shining Girls, Elizabeth Moss plays newspaper researcher Kirby Mazrachi, who was the victim of a horrific attack that left her with a mental trauma that is extremely difficult to manage.  Details of her life, including where she lives, keep shifting without warning.

But when Kirby’s cold case seems to get warm and similar victims emerge, it seems like she might get some answers.  But to figure it all out, she will have to work on the case herself.  Kirby begins to find clues, despite the fact that her attacker (Jamie Bell) seems to live a step ahead of everyone.  The series’ mind-bending conceit may be confusing, but Moss makes Shining Girls one of the best Apple TV+ shows.

The Afterparty

The Afterparty

The Afterparty revolves around the least-likely high school reunion, one that turns into a crime scene as someone is mysteriously killed. And on top of that?  This whodunit is also a comedy.  I won’t spoil who dies, but with a murder’s row of comedic greats the show is almost too-full of funny folks.  One had to die.

Even better, The Afterparty is a perfect binge-watch because of the show’s format.  As each main suspect is interrogated, they tell their own awkward reunion story, and the show takes on the form of how they see the world.  One episode is a romantic comedy, another an action movie.  One episode is an animated adventure, another is a thriller.  The Afterparty is such a hit that Apple TV+ has ordered season 2.


Health and Lifestyle
Contributor: Veena Ramesh

Garuda Mudra (Eagle Seal)

Garuda Mudra

As we continue with Part 3 of our series on Yoga Mudras and their benefits, we hope that some of you have found time to practice these hand gestures.  In order to reap the benefits, you will need to practice for a minimum of ten minutes per day.

This time, we would like to introduce you to Garuda Mudra.  In Sanskrit, the word Garuda means ‘enormous predatory bird’.

When practicing this hand gesture, you will interlock your thumbs while the rest of the fingers stay extended, leaving the palms open.  The gesture encourages students to be free and to let go of their fears, inhibitions, worries and insecurities.

As mentioned in Part 1, the five fingers of our hand represent the five elements of the Universe.  Having all the elements in balance keeps the body and mind healthy.

Practicing the Garuda Mudra keeps the air element in balance.  If this element is disturbed, energy levels drop and make you feel dull, unmotivated and irritable.  It also causes dryness in the body, which increases anxiety.  Therefore, practicing Garuda Mudra helps the body reduce dryness and anxiety levels.

As we have learned, the thumb represents the element of fire and warms up the dry air, which helps with lubrication and removing stagnant fluids from the body.  This very important benefit can assist cancer patients with lymphatic drainage (removing toxins from the body).

The practice of Garuda Mudra combined with meditation cultivates a sense of control over the mind.


IT Corner

IT Corner

Bria Softphone & Zoom Chat Tips

Bria

  • If your account is only partially enabled, make sure to check your VPN.
    Bria

    Bria

  • If you can’t hear others / they can’t hear you:
    • Click the headset icon and go to Device Settings – make sure your laptop/headphones are the speaker and microphone.
    • Turn up the volume slider in the app and on the bottom bar on your laptop.

Zoom Chat

Zoom Chat
  • Chats are for 1 on 1 conversations – go to Channels for Team messaging (on the left bar).
  • Easily screenshot a part of your screen with the screenshot button on the bottom.
  • To send a message in an email format, click the format button on the bottom bar.

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.

  July 2022

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: sfong@universallogistics.ca.

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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