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May 2022

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Karen Murray is Retiring


Karen Murray

  Karen Murray

After a wonderful 38-year career with Universal Logistics, Karen Murray has decided to retire, and her last day with the company will be Friday, June 3rd.  During her time at Universal, Karen has made a very significant and positive impact, and we would like to share some background and memories with the Universal team.

Believe it or not, Karen’s first exposure to Universal was during her final year of high school way back in 1983.  Her aunt, Lynda Wells, was the Manager at our branch office in Fort Erie, and Karen came into the office for a week or so as a co-op student to learn the ropes.  At the time, Louis Valencourt was a seasoned Customs Rater in our Fort Erie office.  He and Lynda must have made quite a good impression on Karen because when all of the local customs brokers were heavily recruiting her after she finished high school, she chose Universal, starting with us on January 10, 1984 as an “Entry Typist”.  Karen was only 18-years-old!  In those days, the full-time task of typing customs entries (on a typewriter!) was a separate one from actually “rating” the entries.  Before too long, Karen’s talent was very evident and she was promoted into an Entry Rater position which she held for the next 20 years.  During that period, Karen took a few very important leaves from Universal as she and her husband, Bob, welcomed daughters Brianna (1991) and Stephanie (1994) into the world.

  Karen & Bob with baby Brianna
      Karen & Bob with baby Brianna at the June 1992 Universal Picnic

When Lynda Wells retired in 2006 (after 43 years with Universal!), Karen was promoted to the position of Branch Manager – Fort Erie.  And, in 2012, Karen expanded her responsibilities, taking on the Manager role for our Niagara Falls office as well.  For the past 16 years, Karen has done a masterful job of managing our Fort Erie and Niagara Falls branch offices, serving as a valued mentor for the many employees working at those offices over her tenure.

During her career, Karen was always keen on learning more and keeping up with the ever-changing Customs regulations and procedures.  As technology evolved, she never shied away from taking on the next challenge, whether it was our complete system conversion from the AS-400 to ITMR4, or the decommissioning of PARS/RMD to the Single Window Initiative (SWI).  Even with her retirement on the horizon, Karen was sure to take every CCS quiz and attend our CCS Study Group sessions to ensure her customs knowledge was right up to date.  She also established trusted relationships with CBSA officers over the years and she knew who to contact when we ran into a snag at the border.  This continued pursuit of education and strong connection with Customs benefited our clients greatly, because Karen was able to guide them through any obstacle they faced in clearing their goods through Customs.

      Lynda Wells retirement dinner November 2006
(Karen 5th from left; Lynda in the middle; Louis behind Lynda)

Karen was also famous for being available and accessible at all times, and to all people.  She was rarely, if ever, away from work taking a sick day.  She would arrive at the office early each day and would remain in contact in the evenings and weekends.  While working in Fort Erie, Karen made sure she was in constant communication with our Niagara Falls team offering support whenever needed.  Since the start of the pandemic, Karen has been in regular contact with our remote workers, keeping them in the loop and solving the issues they encounter.  In her early days, it was a pager, but in recent years it has been via her cell phone.  Karen was always watching for issues that needed immediate attention at any time, day or night, whether it be a driver waiting or a rejected entry.  Let’s just say… finally turning in that cell phone will be one big relief for Karen!

What stands out most about Karen during her career at Universal, is how much she cared and how fairly she treated everyone.  According to Chris Cartan, “Whether it was a client or co-worker, Karen cared about the well-being of everyone.  She would often go to great lengths to make sure everyone was happy and taken care of, whether it was assisting one of her people with workload, or walking over to the Customs building to see how she could help with a client’s shipment that CBSA had a question about”.  Karen wanted to give our clients the personal touch, preferring to communicate by phone and develop a true relationship with them.  She made each client feel important and was the same way with her co-workers.  “She made work enjoyable by always being fair to everyone”, says Louis.  And Louis would certainly know because he worked side-by-side with Karen for her entire 38 years at Universal.

Karen also knew how to have fun.  She made a great effort each year to ensure the Fort Erie and Niagara Falls teams attended the company Christmas party, despite the necessary distance travelled.  Whenever the Fort Erie/Niagara Falls gang arrived, we knew the party could begin.  Karen never did share with us any details of those limo rides from Niagara to Markham, but clearly the fun started well before arrival!

Although Karen is much too young to retire, having started her working career so early and dedicating it to just one company, we are so happy she can now enjoy some well-deserved leisure time.  We know that Karen and Bob plan to spend some quality time with their daughters and 3 grandkids (2 girls, 1 boy, ages 3 through 8).  There will be travel to Nashville, Las Vegas and Cancun and lots of time to support their favourite sports teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and Buffalo Bills.  And we are happy to report that Karen’s incredible legacy at Universal will live on… Karen’s daughter Brianna started back with us just this week, working in Customs Operations at our Fort Erie office.

Karen, congratulations on your most successful career, and thank you for all these years of loyal and dedicated service to the company.  We will certainly miss you!  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!

Summer Family Event – Toronto Zoo


Toronto Zoo logo

Our Summer Family Event will be held at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday, July 16th.  The mandatory vaccination policy has been lifted for all visitors and we are planning on having a ‘roaring’ good time.

It is not too late to join the fun – please let Tina know as soon as possible if you can attend!

Hybrid Working Arrangement Update
Contributor: Chris Cartan

Plans for rolling out the Hybrid Working Arrangement are being finalized and we are targeting a start date of July 4th.

As announced by Michael Glionna on January 27th, employees will have the option of Working From Home for 2 days per week and the remaining 3 days would be in-office.

Managers will be meeting with their teams in the next few weeks to discuss details and schedules.

Something’s Brewing
Contributor: Alice Yan

2022 Top Social Media Trends


Social media icons

Social Commerce Will Become More Popular:  Social commerce is going to dominate social media in 2022.  We will see more brands testing shoppable functionality on all platforms.

Shorter Videos Will Rise in Popularity:  As TikTok continues to be the fastest growing social media platform, video content remains one of the most engaging forms of content.

The No-Filter Feed is Blooming:  In 2022, it is anticipated that creators will spend less time trying to achieve a picture-perfect perception, but rather post things just as they are across social networking platforms.



Social Media Holidays
Social Media Holidays are unofficial holidays that are not traditionally marked on the calendar.  These holidays are celebrated by various groups and individuals.  Although some people will use them to market their business, a lot of people choose the holidays of interest to them to spice up their lives.  Here are some holidays you may want to celebrate:

  • May 28:  National Hamburger Day
  • June 3:  National Donut Day (First Friday in June)
  • June 5:  National Cancer Survivors Day (First Sunday in June)           
  • June 21:  World Music Day / International Yoga Day
  • July 7:  World Chocolate Day

App Recommendations:



Goodreads – The world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.  It is designed to connect readers that have similar tastes in books.  You can keep track of the books you have read, see what your friends are reading, comment on each other’s reviews and find your next favourite book.


TV Time

TV Time – This is a tracking platform and social media network for TV and movies.  It helps you organize all the shows and movies you are interested in, have seen and will watch.  You can receive notifications when new episodes and movies are available, vote on your favorite characters and rate movies.



Bleacher Report – This mobile app gathers information from around the web and provides you with the most important sports news, predictions and rumours about your favorite sports team.  It also allows you to share the posts you love across different social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.



Forest – A time management application that encourages users to stay focused and be more present in their daily lives by planting virtual trees.  The trees planted in the app take a certain amount of time to grow — which you can customize depending on how long you want to abstain from your device.


 How many people in the world are using social media now?

A. 4.62 million
B. 4.62 billion
C. 4.62 trillion

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

Submission deadline
Friday, June 3, 2022 (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 entry from John Leis of our Client Relations team:

“Rich Products casts their vote for Employee of the Month!  Back in March, our friend, Kathy Krucenski,  Customs Compliance Coordinator – International Transportation at Rich Products was so impressed by the “fierce and determined” efforts of Daniela Barron of our Head Office Customs Operations team, that she reached out to personally thank me for the work she’d done in getting one of their Hapag-Lloyd containers delivered.  In an email to me, Kathy wrote, “Do I get a vote for employee of the month?  (Daniela) follow(ed) this to the bitter end.  She has been in our corner jabbing and upper cutting Hapag since day one!!!!  She is fierce!!!”  And we agree!  Well done, Daniela!”

Growing again

In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees.  We have new additions at our U.S. office in Buffalo, our Head Office and our Windsor branch office.  Please join us in welcoming everyone to the team!

Miranda Jankowsk            Bassam Elghaziri
Name: Miranda Jankowski
Team: US Customs Operations
Start date: March 29, 2022
  Name: Bassam Elghaziri

Team: US Customs Operations

Start date: April 4, 2022
Dani Heo            Vincent Arca
Name: Dani Heo
Team: Canadian Customs
             Operations (Head Office)
Start date: April 4, 2022
  Name: Vincent Arca
Team: Canadian Customs
             Operations (Windsor)
Start date: May 3, 2022

Book Buzz
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

A Trilogy to die for

Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moments, the Finlay Donovan series is the adult debut from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.  Book 3 comes out in January 2023.


Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

#1 – Finlay Donovan Is Killing It…except, she’s really not.  She is a stressed-out single mom of two and struggling novelist.  When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet.  

Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes entangled in a real-life murder investigation. 




Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead

#2 – Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead…Finlay is—once again—struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two.  Finlay’s life again gets complicated, when she discovers someone out there wants her ex-husband out of the picture.  Permanently.  

Finlay is determined to keep him and her children safe, but doing so will lead her down a rabbit hole where soccer moms may be hit-women in disguise, and the Russian mob is much more involved than she would like.  With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope.  She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it.

Culture and Entertainment
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

New Seasons of your Favourite Shows

Spring is here – and so are new seasons of your favourite TV shows.  Since there are a ton of programs vying for people’s attention these days, we’ve assembled a list of season premieres of the hottest returning series to help you plot out the next few weeks.  Which shows returning in 2022 are you most excited for?


Stanger Things – Season 4

Stanger Things – Season 4
Available on Netflix – Release Dates: May 27 & July 1

While David Harbour’s Jim Hopper is trapped in Russia and facing dangers both human and otherworldly, the kids of Hawkins, Indiana, will find a secret long buried in the town during the sci-fi series’ fourth season.  

Aside from holding out hope that Hopper might find a way back to adopted daughter Eleven, there’s the fun of seeing which stories in the sci-fi genre this series will pay homage to this time.  Judging by the trailer, a haunted house seems to be involved.  The events we’re about to witness will then pave the way for Stranger Things Season 5 – which is, sadly, the final season of the show.

Part one will drop on Netflix on May 27th, with the second half following just six weeks later on July 1, 2022.


The Boys – Season 3

The Boys – Season 3
Available on Amazon Prime Video –
Release Date: June 3

In its second season, The Boys continues to be wicked smart, grotesque in its humour, and very dark despite its bright-looking world.  In Season 3, as the struggle between the Boys and the Seven continues, Congresswoman Victoria Neuman uses worries about the Supes (a race of powerful superhumans) to her advantage.  Meanwhile, Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), the first superhero, enters the fray.  The addition of Ackles’ character should lead to a few more twists and maybe another exploding whale.  And… what season of The Boys would be complete without Hughie covered in entrails?

The first three episodes drop June 3rd, with the remaining five episodes airing weekly every Friday thereafter.


The Umbrella Academy – Season 3

The Umbrella Academy – Season 3
Available on Netflix – Release Date: June 22

After putting a stop to 1963’s doomsday, the Umbrella Academy returns home to the present, convinced they prevented the initial Apocalypse and fixed this godforsaken timeline once and for all.  But, they realize things aren’t exactly how they left them.  Enter the Sparrow Academy.  Smart, stylish, and about as warm as a sea of icebergs, the Sparrows immediately clash with the Umbrellas.

 Navigating challenges, losses, and surprises of their own, now all they need to do is convince Dad’s new and possibly better family to help them put right what their arrival made wrong.  Will they find a way back to their pre-apocalyptic lives, or is this new world about to reveal more than just a hiccup in the timeline?  After the time-travel craziness of Season 2, we expect things to get even weirder once the series returns.  After all, the stranger things get for the Hargreeves clan, the more fun it is to watch.

Season 3 drops on June 22nd.


Health and Lifestyle
Contributor: Veena Ramesh

Hakini Mudra for Brain Power


Yoga Mudra

For Part 2 of our series on Yoga Mudras and their benefits, we would like to introduce you to Hakini Mudra.  This Mudra is well known to aid with concentration, focus and improves brain power by helping bring together the right and left sides of the brain.  The tips of our fingers are always sensitive and when the tips of two fingers are joined, it helps to activate our senses.

Here are some tips for Hakini Mudra:

  • Join the tips of the fingers of your right hand with your left hand
  • Keep your palms separated
  • Do Hakini Mudra anywhere
  • Use it when trying to remember something
  • Use it when you need to focus
  • Focus on the third eye area (the point between the eyebrows) as you do this Mudra
  • Try placing the thumbs in the third eye area, centre of the chest or lower down (maybe under the table at a meeting)!

Hakini Mudra is very useful, especially when we do not have time to meditate for long.

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

Alice Yan (Head Office – Administration)
Completed the second portion of the CIFFA Certificate Program – Essentials of Freight Forwarding on Demand.

Congratulations Alice!

IT Corner

IT Corner

DOs & DON’Ts of Cyber Safety


  • Pay close attention to emails from FEDEX, UPS, etc., as these are frequently used by spammers.            
  • Check links in suspicious emails – roll mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination, displayed in the bottom left corner of your screen.  Beware if this is different from what is displayed in the text of the link from the email.
  • Try to stay on first page of Google search.  These are usually verified by Google.
  • Check the domain name to ensure it is correct if you feel the email is suspect – domain name is the name after the @ like our domain names are ‘’ and ‘’.
  • Ensure the email is legitimate before opening attachments or clicking on links.  If you have any doubts, please forward the email in question to to confirm, or call the sender.
  • Delete all scam emails from your inbox.
  • Use the ‘Bcc’ (blind copy) box instead of the ‘To’ box whenever possible.  This way, no recipient will see the names of the other recipients, and if their addresses fall into the wrong hands there will be less chance of you or anybody else receiving phishing or spam emails.
  • Always cover webcam when not in use.
  • Always lock your screen when you are leaving your desk.


  • Ignore updates.  If your system is reminding you of updates, contact the IT Solutions Team.
  • Leave devices unattended and unlocked.
  • Use links in emails to log into websites.  Go to your Internet browser and type in the URL (web address) and log in manually from there.
  • Download software on your own without involving Universal’s IT Solutions Team.
  • Respond to emails asking you to verify or reset your email password.  Pathway is our email provider and will never send you an email directly.
  • Leave your password around on sticky notes.
  • Ignore security warnings when clicking on links to websites.

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.

  May 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:

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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