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November 2021

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Christmas Luncheon

As announced on November 22nd, this year we will once again host a safe and socially-distanced catered Holiday Luncheon on Friday, December 17th!

So clear your schedules and get ready to enjoy some awesome food.

As we did last year, we will Zoom our branch offices in on the happenings at Head Office, including Milestone recipient presentations, as well as having a catered lunch for each location. 

HHTH 2021 – We set a new record

Mike, Alice and Mark

Our 2021 Hockey Helps the Homeless Fundraiser officially came to a close on Friday, November 19th and the final tally was a new record.  We raised an incredible $26,409.26 for HHTH, 360Kids, Blue Door (and for Compass House in Buffalo).  Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated!

We kicked off this year’s campaign with a Lunch ‘N Learn event at head office, highlighted by virtual presentations from HHTH, 360Kids and Blue Door, as well as a very special guest speaker – Toronto Maple Leaf icon Doug Gilmour!

The Universal team competition was, once again, fierce this year and included many creative fundraising initiatives, including 50/50 draws, Wine-Vodka Raffles, Sweet & Savoury Bake Sale, Word Bingo, the always popular Krispy Kreme Donut Sale…to name only a few.  And finally, the Universal Maple Leafs were declared the winning team. 

Congratulations again to Captain Brian Rowe, Assistant Captain Chris Cartan and the entire Maple Leafs team for finishing on top by raising an amazing $5,635.05.  In a tight race for second place, the Universal Flameswere victorious.  Congratulations to Captain Janice Ilkay and Assistant Captain Maggie Gragasin for spearheading a great campaign and raising an incredible $3,826.35. 

Toward the end of our campaign, we added a Hotel & Restaurant Prize Pack, donated by Chris & Grace Barnard, to be raffled off within the 2nd place team.  The prize pack winner was Ofeera Fatima.  Congrats also to Ivy Woo who won the Early Bird Registration Sprint prize – a custom-made Muskoka Sports Chair.  And, of course, we must congratulate the Grand Prize Winner, Alice Yan, who won the Leafs tickets and a $200 prepaid credit card.

Maggie Yang      

Oswaldo Arteaga once again rallied his Muay Thai team, who fundraised an amazing $1,094.  On November 10th, Oswaldo organized a live demonstration by the father of Muay Thai in Canada, Ajahn Suchart, Youth International WBC Champion (and Oswaldo’s son) Rafael “El Matador” Arteaga and Oswaldo himself.  Rafael matched every dollar donated with a strike on the pads.  Alice Yan, Maggie Gragasin, Will Liang and Lukas Hamann also got in on the fun and showed great promise!

We’re happy to report that 38 employees raised over $150 and will receive a Bluetooth Speaker, 34 employees raised over $200 and will receive an Extra Paid Vacation Day, and 26 employees raised over $250 and will receive an HHTH Hoodie.

Overall, this was another amazing campaign, showcasing everyone’s creativity and generosity.  We all had fun along the way and ended up with a truly outstanding result, allowing us to give back to our community and assist those less fortunate.

Something’s Brewing
Contributor: Alice Yan

Buffalo – America’s best designed city


Darwin D. Martin House

A Booming Art & Architecture Scene 

Buffalo is filled with so many architectural treasures, you could spend days just touring the city’s many historic buildings, skyscrapers, churches and mansions, such as the country’s largest intact parks system, the Guaranty Building, a prominent example of an early high-rise skyscraper.  Darwin D. Martin House, one of the must-see attractions in Buffalo, is a National Historic Landmark.



Buffalo is also home to over 50 private and public art galleries, most notably the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, home to a collection of modern and contemporary art, and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.  The largest theatre in the Buffalo area is Shea’s Performing Arts Center.  Built in 1926, the theatre offers Broadway musicals and concerts.



A Festive City

Festivals have become part of Buffalo’s culture and tradition.  There are about two dozen festivals throughout the year!  The rich cultural heritage of the city led to the creation of a wide range of ethnic festivals, such as Dyngus Day, celebrated by Polish-Americans, which attracts tens of thousands of revellers, making it the largest Dyngus Day event in the U.S..  Other popular summer festivals include the Allentown Art Festival and Taste of Buffalo.  Winter festivals include the Buffalo Ball Drop and Labatt Blue Pond Hockey.

A City to Enjoy Life



Buffalo residents don’t share the work-all-day freneticism of New Yorkers, leaving plenty of afternoons free for relaxation and microbrews.  You can take a historic river cruise to see the massive grain elevators, or take a boozy cruise around Lake Erie.  You can stroll on the breakwater between the Black Rock Canal and Niagara River.  The best part is that you can go to the Anchor Bar to try the “Buffalo Wings”, invented by Teressa Bellissimo at this bar in 1964 with an Imperial Sponge Candy Stout, which can only be found in Buffalo.

 After learning some interesting facts about Buffalo, we challenge you to make a grammatically correct sentence using only the word “Buffalo”!

The correct sentence employs three distinct meanings of the word buffalo:

  • as an adjectival proper noun, to refer to a specific place named Buffalo, the city of Buffalo, New York, being the most notable;
  • as a verb, to buffalo, meaning “to bully, harass, or intimidate” or “to baffle”; and
  • as a noun, to refer to the animal, bison (often called buffalo in North America). The plural is also buffalo.

A semantically equivalent form preserving the original word order is: “Buffalo bison that other Buffalo bison bully also bully Buffalo bison.”

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

Submission deadline
Friday, December 3, 2021 (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 Head Office Client Relations team:

“I’d like to put forward Brenda Munroe’s name of our Client Relations team.  For the past several years, Brenda has spearheaded the Give a Kid a Coat campaign and, this year, the Coat Donation campaign for 360 Kids.  She so willingly gives her time to collect the various items and delivers them to those who need it most.  In my opinion she is well deserving of kudos for her effort; year in and year out!”

Branch Spotlight – Windsor
Contributor: Chris Cartan

Opened over 30 years ago, Universal’s Windsor, Ontario branch office is located within minutes of the Ambassador Bridge. The Ambassador Bridge is an international suspension bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario. It is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade volume, carrying more than 25% of all merchandise trade between the United States and Canada.

Known as the “Automotive Capital of Canada,” Windsor is famous for its connection to the original Ford Motor Factory.  Today, Windsor is still a leader in the automotive industry, but it is better recognized for its casino and renowned for its beautiful waterfront, parks and gardens.  However, there is much more to Windsor than automobiles and casinos and who better to ask about this than our resident experts, Anthony Zitko and Kim Maurice.  Not only do Anthony and Kim do a great job operating our Windsor office, but they are proud residents of the city also know as the “City of Roses.”  With this in mind, we asked them to answer three burning questions:   

Q: What do you love about your city that makes it unique?


Peace Fountain

A: Windsor is a small but beautiful city – we are fortunate to have an expansive public park system that highlights this beauty.  The near entirety of Windsor’s shoreline with the Detroit River has been dedicated to the Riverfront Trail & Sculpture Park; from scenic cobbled pathways with towering local and international art, to the stunning Peace Fountain (dedicated to international peace & social progress) and a large outdoor concert venue, this gem is a point of pride.  Other Windsor showstoppers are the Queen Elizabeth II Garden and Jackson Park, featuring curated shrubs and flower beds that feel almost fairytale-like, and two Spitfires that participated in WWII!

Q: Tell us one food dish a visitor must try before they leave?



A: This answer is an obvious one: PIZZA!  Any Windsorite will gladly take 10 minutes to explain how we, hands-down-no-questions-asked, have the best pizza in the country!  There has even been a documentary made exploring the history and rise of Windsor’s city-wide pizza industry (Google: “The Pizza City You’ve Never Heard Of”

Some folks say it’s the water from the Detroit River, the uniqueness of our shredded pepperoni, or (and my personal theory) the specific cheese from a local manufacturer, Galati’s, that makes it second-to-none.  Some local pizza joints we can guarantee will always follow through with a top-notch slice are: Armando’s, Capri’s, Rosa’s and Bullseye’s.

Q: Tell us about your favourite secret location (like a hidden gem)


Willistead Manor

A: Windsor has its pulse on city’s history; and nothing spotlights that more than a visit to Willistead Manor.  Reminiscent of Casa Loma in Toronto (for the GTA folks reading this), this Edwardian mansion is a perfectly preserved bit of local history.  Built by the Walker family around the turn of the 20th century as a result of their success in industrializing the area for their thriving whisky distillery (Canadian Club), it feels like you’ve stepped back in time when you’re walking around the grounds or through the halls.

The Walker family was so integral to Windsor’s expansion during the late 1800s / early 1900s, that the entire area surrounding the Manor was named “Walkerville” – it has become extremely trendy over the last decade or so.  The whole neighbourhood is tucked away in central Windsor, but worth a drive through the old and narrow roads to appreciate the old, grandiose houses.

Growing again

In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees.  We have a new addition at our Head Office, Niagara Falls branch office and our U.S. office in Buffalo.  Please join us in welcoming Philip Lee, Natalie Williamson and Audrey Keser to the team!

Philip Lee            Natalie Williamson

Name: Philip Lee
Team: Customs Operations
          (Head Office)
Start date: October 12, 2021

  Name: Natalie Williamson
Team: Customs Operations
             (Niagara Falls)
Start date: October 18, 2021
Audrey Keser    

Name: Audrey Keser
Team: US Customs
          Operations (Buffalo)
Start date: November 15, 2021


Book Buzz
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho


The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox

The Holiday Swap is a feel-good, holiday-themed romantic comedy about identical twins who switch lives in the days leading up to Christmas.

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her baking show, she loses her ability to taste and smell – both critical to her success as show judge.  Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their hometown, while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex.

With only days until Christmas, Charlie asks Cass to switch places.  But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix.  Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?

Culture and Entertainment
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Curl up and watch a good movie

With winter and the holidays just around the corner, it is always nice to curl up with a blanket while binge-watching movies.  With theatre finally open again, this year there are even more options for end of the year movies.  So, sit back, relax and enjoy the fun suggestions below:



Coming to theatres November 24, 2021

The holidays are not complete without an animated Disney movie, and this year’s option does not disappoint.  Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. 

The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift, from super strength to the power to heal – every child except one, Mirabel.  When Mirabel discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, she decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope.  Encanto features all new songs by Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”, “Moana”).


Red Notice
Coming to Netflix November 12, 2021

The biggest Netflix movie to date (with a budget of $200 million dollars) brings together three of the world’s biggest movie stars.  Netflix really knows how to use its money!  Red Notice is a heist comedy that tells the story of a notorious criminal conman, played by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), who forms an unlikely alliance with an FBI profiler, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who’s dead set on catching an elusive art thief, played by Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), who’s always one step ahead.

The high-flying adventure that ensues takes the trio around the world, across the dance floor, trapped in a secluded prison, into the jungle and, worst of all for them, constantly into each other’s company.  Basically, attractive people are going to be shooting at each other.  Who could say no?

Health and Lifestyle
Contributor: Veena Ramesh

Cardamom – Queen of Spices



Cardamom Lemonade

Cardamom is one of the ancient spices being used for culinary and medicinal purposes.  It is also known as the ‘Queen of Spices’.

Cardamom has a distinctive flavour that compliments both sweet and savoury dishes.  Cardamom seeds are used in curries, sweets, cakes and biscuits.  They also compliment beverages such as coffee, tea and lemonade.

Cardamom can be taken as a health supplement, as it contains phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  It is often used to treat bad breath and is a component of some chewing gums, as it might be able to kill common mouth bacteria and prevent cavities.
Cardamom also contains certain compounds that fight cancer cells.  Research says that the intake of cardamom helps to reduce blood pressure and blood sugar and cures digestive problems.  It may also protect your heart from elevated cholesterol levels and lower liver toxicity.
Following is a recipe for Cardamom Lemonade with cardamom.  Drinking this every morning will boost immunity levels and helps to reduce weight:
Cardamom Lemonade

  • Water – 1 Big Glass
  • Lemon Juice – 3 tsp
  • Honey – 3 tsp
  • Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
  • Mix all ingredients

Enjoy your drink!

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.

Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) Course

Kathryn Stark

Kathryn Stark
(Fort Erie Branch Office – Customs Operations)
– graduate of the CCS course.

Congratulations Kathryn!

US Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) Course

Amir Shaukat

Amir Shaukat
(Airport Branch Office – Customs Operations)
– graduate of the US CCS course.

Congratulations Amir!

CIFFA Certificate Program

Alice Yan

Alice Yan
(Head Office – Administration)
– completed first portion of CIFFA Certificate program
– International Transportation and Trade.

Congratulations Alice!

IT Corner

IT Corner

How to spot Spam Emails

Illegitimate/Spam emails are not only annoying, but are one of the biggest threats to Internet security.  It is, therefore, important to ensure that the emails you are opening are legitimate.

Following is an example of real phishing emails to help you spot illegitimate emails:

  1. Email address does not match the name of the sender:

  2. Email message creates a sense of urgency and asks you to click on links:

  3. You do not recognize the sender or the request seems unusual:
    Outlook Search

It is very important to 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.  Please delete all scam emails from your inbox.

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.

  November 2021

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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