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November 2022

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Rita Yau, Credit and Collections Specialist, Retiring


  Rita Yau

After over 16 years with Universal, Rita Yau has decided to retire at the end of November.  Rita joined Universal on October 5, 2006 as our Credit and Collections Specialist, a position she has held through her career with the company.  Rita has continually proven to be the most effective and successful collections person that has ever worked for Universal in all our years. 

Rita has always been extremely hard-working, and very dedicated to maintaining Universal’s best interests.  Collecting money from clients is a very unique talent, and indeed a thankless job that can often go unrecognized or underappreciated.  Rita has always been persistent, and when necessary relentless, in her pursuit to ensure that all debts are settled.

As our company has grown over the last 15 years, acquiring other companies, and opening up in the U.S., Rita has taken on the extra workload and challenge of handling this important job for the company, without the size of her team growing accordingly.  It is an extraordinary achievement that we have experienced so few bad debts while taking on so much new business in Rita’s 16 years here.

In retirement, Rita plans to spend time travelling, something that has not been possible during the last few pandemic years.  Specifically, Rita has planned an extensive trip to Hong Kong for a welcomed visit with her family, something she has been planning for quite some time.

Rita, congratulations and thank you for all these years of loyal and dedicated service to the company.  You have had an extremely successful career at Universal, and you will be missed.  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!

HHTH 2022 – We crushed last year’s total!

Employee Engagement

Our 2022 Hockey Helps the Homeless Fundraiser officially came to a close on Friday, November 18th and the final tally was another record high.  We raised a simply unbelievable $37,566.08 ($750 higher than announced on November 23rd, thanks to last minute donations to the Universal Senators and Universal Flames) for HHTH, 360Kids and Blue Door.  Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated!

We kicked off this year’s campaign with a Lunch ‘N Learn event at head office on October 18th, highlighted by presentations from HHTH, 360Kids and Blue Door.  360Kids impact speaker Kaylie shared her compelling story and then it was time for a very special guest speaker – NHL alumnus Brad May!

As expected, the Universal team competition was, once again, fierce and included many creative fundraising initiatives, including 50/50 Draws, Wine & Liquor Raffles, Sweet & Savoury Bake Sales, Word Bingo, the ever 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 $7,459.65.  The Maple Leafs team will enjoy a lunch at a restaurant of their choice, compliments of Universal.  Congrats also to Tina Scharnberg who won the Early Bird Registration Sprint prize – a custom-made Muskoka Sports Chair.  And, of course, we must congratulate the Grand Prize Winner,  Ivy Woo, who won the Toronto Maple Leafs tickets and a $200 prepaid credit card.


Muay Thai

On November 15th, the Universal Jets hosted a live Muay Thai exhibition sparring match at Head Office, featuring William ‘Beast Lightning’ Liang and Oswaldo ‘The Attacker’ Arteaga!  Prior to the ‘Main Event’, which was live streamed at our Canadian branch offices, US offices and for remote workers, all head office ticket holders had the opportunity to show off their basketball skills during Hoops for Hits.  For every basket scored, our two competitors would hit, punch or kick the pads 5 times.  Turns out, we do not have any ringers amongst our staff, who scored 35 baskets.  William and Oswaldo closed the event with an impressive display of 350 hits, punches and kicks on the pads.

We’re happy to report that 50 employees raised over $150 and will receive a Universal/HHTH Water Bottle, 44 employees raised over $200 and will receive an Extra Paid Vacation Day, and 36 employees raised over $250 and will receive an HHTH Hoodie.

Give yourselves a hand for completing another amazing, record-breaking campaign, showcasing everyone’s creativity and generosity.  We all had fun along the way and ended up with a truly amazing result, allowing us to give back to our community and assist those less fortunate.

Come out and celebrate the Holiday Season


Christmas Partying

The Holiday Season is fast approaching and we want to, once again, celebrate with all Universal employees!

We will gather at Stonefire Bar & Grill for the Company Christmas Party on Friday, December 16.

Get ready for a night of celebrating with your colleagues.  There will be Magic, Games, Music, Food, Drinks & more – this year featuring DJs “Trick” Sarmiento & “El” Velasco , so bring your dancing shoes!

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

Diwali – The Festival of Lights (A Five-Day Celebration)
Contributor: Melanie Basu


  Lakshmi: The Goddess of
Wealth and Prosperity

Diwali (Sanskrit: Deepavali) is a very special celebration for all Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and those who practice the Sanathan Dharma.  Each region of India celebrates a different part of history for Diwali.  The most common rituals amongst Hindus is to light small earthenware lamps, diya, with homemade ghee and special oils, in rows that are meant to light the path for goddess Lakshmi to enter your home, and adorn the floors with handmade designs in rice flour called rangol. 

Sweets such as Gulab Jamun (fried dough balls), Jallebi (fried sugar), fresh fruits, and milk with saffron are made as offerings to all the gods and goddesses and, after they have eaten, we share and eat the blessed foods with loved ones. 


Maa Kali

  Maa Kali:
Goddess of
Life and Death

In West Bengal Kolkata, we celebrate Maa Kali, the goddess of life and death.  Upon witnessing all of the evil and hate while she was on earth, Maa Kali went on a rampage to kill mankind.  None of the gods could stop her, so her husband Shiva, one of the three original Godheads who made the Trishul (Trident), laid down.

Maa Kali stepped on him, and when she realized that she stepped on one of the creators of the universe, she stopped.  Maa Kali is always shown with her tongue out to signify the shame she felt for stepping on Shiva.



Shree Krishna

  Shree Krishna:
Original Supreme Godhead

In Southern India, we celebrate the defeat of the demon Narakasura who came from the oceans to destroy mankind.  Shree Krishna killed him and mankind was able to evolve.  Shree Krishna is the original godhead that all other reincarnations are born from.







Shree Rama

  Shree Rama:
Reincarnation of Shree Krishna

In Northern India, we celebrate the return of Shree Rama, his wife Sita Maa, his brother Luskhman, and the monkey god Hunaman.  Shree Rama is a reincarnation of Shree Krishna, and Hunaman, his protector and dearest friend.  Shree Rama’s step-mother banished the four of them from the city Ayodhya for 14 years because she wanted her son to become the next king.  Sita Maa was held captive for 12 of those years by the ten-headed king of Sri Lanka, Ravana.  His defeat is also greatly celebrated.

The overlapping theme, regardless of the event, is that the righteous and good-hearted will always triumph over evil, no matter how difficult the situation may be.


Hapag-Lloyd Special Equipment Information Session
Contributor: Cathy Fong

On October 26, 2022, I had the pleasure of attending an information session on “Special Equipment”, held by Hapag-Lloyd at Musket’s yard.  This session was hosted by special guest, Mr. David Piel, Senior Manager – Special Cargo.

The session was fun and informative, offering a wide range of information, including but not limited to:

Different types of equipment and their characteristics
How different types of cargo are loaded and shipped (one example was the loading of a wind turbine that was oversized and overweight)
Cargo packaging
Weight distributions
Container and equipment loading in compliance with the “CTU (Cargo Transportation Unit)
Slot allocations
Advantages and disadvantages of on-deck and under-deck cargo, etc.

We try to attend these information sessions as often as possible to enhance our knowledge and to be able to apply it to our everyday use.

In 2022, we started focussing on Project Cargo.  What is Project Cargo?  Project Cargo is oversized and/or overweight and cannot be shipped in standard containers.  In 2022, Universal has handled many projects by different means of transportation, such as shipments of wheel loaders (oversized), coil (overweight), machinery (overweight and oversized), aircraft body and parts (oversized), to name a few.  Project Cargo is fun to handle, but very complicated!

If anyone has questions or is interested in learning more about Project Cargo, please let me know.  If anyone asks you about Project Cargo, or whether we handle oversized shipments, the answer is: YES, WE DO!  Please direct any inquiries to my attention at

Something’s Brewing
Contributor: Alice Yan

Unusual Christmas Symbols & Traditions

The Christmas season is coming!  There’s a lot to love about Christmas – food, gifts and family time.  What makes the holiday season even more charming is that all around the world, countries have developed their own interesting Christmas traditions.


British Father Christmas

England – “British Father Christmas:  At a British Christmas celebration, you will see Yorkshire pudding and turkey on the Christmas table, kids pulling Christmas crackers, and Father Christmas wearing green.  Although the red-suited version of Santa on Christmas is also popular in the UK, the traditional British Father Christmas wears a hooded green cloak, a wreath of holly or ivy, and carries a staff.


Bad Santa

Austria & Germany – “Bad Santa:  During the first week of December, young men dress up as Krampus, St. Nicholas’ evil accomplice, frightening children with clattering chains and bells.  In Austrian tradition, St. Nicholas rewards nice little boys and girls, while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack.



KFC Christmas Dinner

Japan – “KFC Christmas Dinner:  Although Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan, families from all over the country head to their local KFC for a special Christmas Eve meal.  The tradition began in 1974, after KFC released a festive marketing campaign in Japan.  The seemingly simple slogan “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) spawned a national tradition that still thrives to this day.


Iceland – “Yule Lads:  The Yule Lads are 13 mischievous Icelandic elves playing tricks on children.  During the 13 nights leading up to Christmas, Icelandic children place their shoes by the windowsill in the hopes that one of the 13 Yule Lads will leave them small gifts or candies.  Misbehaved children will instead receive rotten potatoes in their shoes.


Sweden – “Gävle Goat:  Since 1966, a 13-metre-tall Yule Goat is being built in the centre of Gävle’s Castle Square for Advent, but this Swedish Christmas tradition has unwittingly led to another “tradition” of sorts – people trying to burn it down.  Since 1966, the Goat has been successfully burned down 29 times – its most recent destruction was in 2016.  If you want to see how the Gävle Goat fares this year when it goes up on December 1st, you can follow its progress on the Visit Gävle website through a live video stream.

 Decorating a Christmas tree is an essential activity to celebrate Christmas.  Do you know which country created the most expensively dressed Christmas tree in the world?

A. Japan
B. U.S.A.
C. Singapore
United Arab Emirates

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

Submission deadline
Tuesday, December 6, 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 Oswaldo Arteaga of our Head Office Client Relations team:

Naara Garcia of our Head Office Customs Operations team helped us realize that our database for our client VSM Abrasives Canada Inc. was not up-to-date on the PGA side.  Thanks to her, the Customs Consulting Services team is now aware of the matter and the client is no longer erroneously billed CFIA fees.  In addition, I would like to highlight how Naara always questions procedures or processes that take up too much time or that seem out of date, which gives me a chance to look into live scenarios in an effort to identify areas for improvement.

Growing again

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

Bowen Zhu            Jikku Viju
Name: Bowen Zhu
Team: Ocean Services
            (Head Office)
Start date: October 31, 2022
  Name: Jikku Viju
Team: Airfreight Services

Start date: November 7, 2022
William See Ong            Ali Kay Webber
Name: William See Ong
Team: IT Solutions
            (Head Office)
Start date: November 14, 2022
  Name: Ali Kay Webber
Team: US Customs
            Operations (Buffalo)
Start date: November 14, 2022

Book Buzz
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews


The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins decides to blind buy an old farmhouse, she’s looking for a fresh start.  The farmhouse is a labour of love, but Ivy had no clue just how much labour she signed up for.  The previous family left so much furniture and junk, that sorting through it has become a full-time job.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit, and in the pocket, she finds a note written by a little girl who has one Christmas wish – for her father to return home from the war.  This discovery sets Ivy off on a quest that brings her into the community when all she wants is to be left alone to nurse her wounds.  

Who wrote the note, and did her wish come true?  Christmas magic finds itself in the form of a Santa suit as Ivy discovers more than just a mystery, but also a welcoming town, and a second chance at love.

Culture and Entertainment
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Grab a huge mug of hot cocoa and throw an extra log into the fireplace, because you’re going to be spending an awful lot of time basking in the spirit of Christmas — and the glow of your television.  Ready to plan your ultimate holiday movie and TV show binge schedule?  Start scrolling and rolling into the most wonderful movie and show-stuffed time of the year.



Scrooge: A Christmas Carol
Available on Netflix – Release Date: December 2

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is bringing the famous Charles Dickens Christmas story to a new generation.  Like many adaptations before it, the animated film is centered around Ebenezer Scrooge, a grouchy miser who gets a visit from three Christmas spirits on Christmas Eve.

What’s going to set Scrooge: A Christmas Carol apart is that the movie will be a musical, with songs by Leslie Bricusse.  The late two-time Academy Award winner composed songs for movie classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Superman.


Violent Night

Violent Night
Available in Theatres – Release Date: December 2

Has the thought, “Darn, there isn’t enough violence” ever crossed your mind while watching Christmas movies?  If so, you won’t be disappointed by Violent Night.  It begins with a young girl who is excited about Christmas, and is thrown for a loop when a group of bad guys break into her home and take her family hostage for the $300 million vault they’re apparently sitting on. 

But they better watch out because, thankfully, Santa Claus is coming to town…and he’s on a mission to punish the members on his naughty list.  Despite the ridiculous premise, fans of top-tier action movies will be excited to know that 87North, the producers behind Nobody, John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, and Bullet Train, are working on this festive film.


The Santa Clauses
Available on Disney+ – Release Date: November 16

Tim Allen isn’t quite ready to hang up his hat.  The star reprises his role as Scott Calvin, also known as Santa Claus, in the forthcoming limited series, launching with a two-episode premiere on November 16th.  

The holiday-themed show focuses on Calvin deciding that, after 30 years as Father Christmas, he’s ready to move on with his life and leave his Santa responsibilities to a successor amid the holiday’s declining popularity.  However, he soon realizes that Christmas has been left in the wrong hands, and it’s up to him to save it.  The series is a continuation of the film franchise that began in 1994 with The Santa Clause and was last seen on the big screen with 2006’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.

Health and Lifestyle
Contributor: Veena Ramesh


In this issue, we will be talking about Veganism – what it is, why it has become a mainstream topic of discussion, and what the health benefits are. 

By definition, veganism is a way of living, in which individuals forego the consumption of animal products for ethical, health and/or environmental reasons.  The term vegan was coined back in 1944 by a small group of vegetarians who broke away from the Leicester Society in England to form the Vegan Society. 

The term vegan has evolved since then and, according to the latest definition, veganism is a philosophy and way of living whose main purpose is to exclude cruelty to animals.  Even though many people use the term vegan to refer to a plant-based diet, veganism extends beyond that. 

Many might wonder what reasons there are to switch to a vegan diet and how easy or difficult it is to follow.  A very good and common reason that people choose veganism is ethics, and compared to other diets, a vegan diet has a much smaller environmental impact.  However, we will be focussing on the health benefits behind a vegan diet.

Diets with a higher concentration of meat and animal by-products have been linked to cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Plant-based diets reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improve digestion, and help in reducing the side effects linked to antibiotics and hormones that are used in modern animal agriculture.  They also aid in weight loss, reducing the likelihood of obesity. 

For those of you who want to try a vegan diet, or want to try some vegan dishes, I would like to share some recipes.  Bon Appetit!

Sticky Toffee Pudding     Recipe
Sticky Toffee Pudding     Recipe – Click image for larger view.
    Pad Thai Recipe
Pad Thai     Recipe – Click image for larger view.

IT Corner
Contributors: Janice Ilkay & Maryam Mehrdad

IT Corner

Deleting vs. Organizing in Outlook: What’s the Difference?

Deleting is used when you have no further use for an email.  This doesn’t instantly destroy the message forever – it just moves it to your Deleted Items folder.  You should empty your Deleted Items folder from time to time in order to save space and stay organized.  If your mailbox is full, our IT Solutions team will empty your Deleted Items folder to free up space.


Organizing in Folders

Inbox zero might be the goal, but it can seem nearly impossible to get there with thousands of previous emails clogging it up.  In order to create some calm amidst the chaos, you need to learn how to organize emails in Outlook.  The beauty of copying or moving messages into individual folders is that it saves you time.  For messages that you might want to reference down the road, but aren’t important enough to warrant storage in a major folder like your Inbox, this is the perfect long-term storage solution.


6 Ways to Manage Your Email Inbox –
According to People
Who Get 100+ Emails a Day

  1. Only keep emails requiring immediate action in your Inbox
  2. Create a “Waiting Folder” for action-pending emails
  3. Make folders, subfolders or labels for needed emails
  4. Set Inbox rules or filters
  5. Use your Calendar to track emails that require follow-up
  6. Don’t Use Deleted Items to keep your emails

1. Tech Republic | How to free up space by deleting large email messages in Microsoft Outlook
2. The Muse | 10 Ways to Manage Your Email Inbox–According to People Who Get 100+ Emails a Day

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 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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