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employees

5th Annual Cats vs. Dogs Contest

BlueGrace Logistics holds Fifth Annual Cats vs. Dogs Pet Food Drive Benefiting the Humane Society of Tampa Bay


2015_COMMUNITY_CATSVSDOGS 2RIVERVIEW, Fla. – September 10, 2015: Each year BlueGrace holds their official “Cats vs. Dogs” contest amongst its employees. The contest is a pet food drive in which the women compete against the men to collect the most pet food in pounds. The food is then donated to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay to care for the animals in the no-kill shelter.

In 2014, BlueGrace donated more than 44,000 pounds of pet food which was enough to feed the animals for almost an entire year. Since the contest’s inception in 2010, BlueGrace has donated over 80,000 pounds of pet food to Humane Society Tampa Bay. Each year, BlueGrace plans to surpass last year’s amount. Employees come together to donate pet food, as well as leverage contacts to purchase large amounts of food. The contest will run through the middle of October.

BlueGrace Logistics takes pride in giving back to the community through our “Giving Grace” Program created by our President and CEO, Bobby Harris. Our Giving Grace charity of choice is the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and we support the organization in many ways throughout the year. Most recently, BlueGrace employees volunteered for Humane Society Tampa Bay during Creative Loafing’s BeerFest event at MOSI. A percentage of the event’s proceeds went to support the animal shelter.

Want to contribute to the 2015 Cats vs. Dogs Competition and Pet Food Drive? 

The public is invited to participate in the Cats vs. Dogs contest. For information or to donate large amounts (such as a pallet of pet food) contact BlueGrace Logistics at community@mybluegrace.comPlease be sure to specify if you’d like to contribute to the “TeamCats” (girls) or “TeamDogs,” (guys) if applicable. 

The #BGExFEARience – Halloween at BlueGrace Logistics

In the corporate world, I have worked through many Halloween festivities:

Plastic pumpkins and spider webs on top of desks;

“No lights! It’s a fire hazard.”

“Nothing hanging above the cubicles! It’s a major distraction.”

A ‘Beware’ sign or two on the hallway along with celebratory cake covered with bright orange frosting and a handful of people who were brave enough to dress up in costume; it was predictable.

And then I started working at BlueGrace.

Halloween decorations at BlueGrace Logistics - BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise!
Halloween Decorations at BlueGrace Logistics consists of life size skeletons and monsters

The idea of “Halloween at work” has now completely changed and transformed into a monster, and I mean that in an almost literal way (there’s a dead body inside of a coffin staring at me as I write this.)

“Where else can you make a grown man scream like a baby girl other than BlueGrace?” says BlueGrace Scare Master and Partner Invoicing Team Lead, Keith Gineo.

What was once predictable is now completely new and exciting!

Cubicles are decorated with spider webs from floor to ceiling, body parts hanging throughout the office, blood splattered in the break room…and best of all? Halloween is still 2 weeks away! Every day I arrive at work to a new surprise and everyone is thrilled about our biggest “employee appreciation day” of the year!

“I’m looking forward to the unexpected.  I’ve heard a lot of hype about BooGrace and how crazy it is, but I don’t know exactly what that means.  I’m pretty sure the costumes and decorations won’t disappoint, and I’m confident the accounting team will complete the 3-peat after winning the best decorated department again!!!” says Partner Invoicing Specialist, David Daniels.

By the 31st we will have a haunted house in the middle of the office, and dressing up in costumes is not just advised, but mandatory. Cake? Well, I’m not sure if there will be cake, but Happy Hour starts at 3PM and to me that’s completely out of my “Halloween at work” expectation.

“Everyone always has an awesome participation and the BG experience that we all share is amazing. We have many interesting events such as Spook Your Space, Trick Out Your Treats, Pick Your Poison, and Pimp Your Pumpkin, which the pumpkins are provided by the Human Society of Tampa Bay. This year will especially be memorable because I will be able to bring my daughter to work for trick-or-treating. A festivity myself, my co-workers and now my daughter wait for every year,” says Partner Invoicing Specialist, Dom Cipriani.

Halloween decorations at BlueGrace Logistics - BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise!
BlueGrace is often listed as one of the best places to work!
BlueGrace Logistics - Franchise 500 | Best Places to Work | Inc 5000 | Top Franchises
Blue Grace has one of the most profitable franchise systems. The franchisees are encouraged to participate and replicate the headquarter’s festivities!
BlueGrace Logistics - Franchise 500 | Best Places to Work | Inc 5000 | Top Franchises
Welcome to BlueGrace!
BlueGrace Logistics - Franchise 500 | Best Places to Work | Inc 5000 | Top Franchises
The Halloween spirit at BlueGrace is infectious!

 

It’s easy to see why BlueGrace is so successful. The employees love what they do because they work in a place they love. They work hard because they’re allowed to enjoy being at work, making every day simply unpredictable!

Thanks to BlueGrace Logistics’ Partner Invoicing Team for sharing their #BGExFEARience:

BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise system!
Keith Gineo, in full Halloween mode!
Halloween decorations at BlueGrace Logistics - BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise system!
David Daniels
BlueGrace is one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay and a Franchise 500 franchise system!
Dom Cipriani

BlueGrace Logistics Donates 44 Thousand Pounds of Pet Food to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay

Final group picOur annual “Cats vs. Dogs” Competition Pet Food Drive came to a close on Friday, February 28. This year, BlueGrace raised 44 thousand pounds of pet food – more than twice the amount we collected in 2013! This was undoubtedly one of the largest pet food drives in the country!

The donated pet food will not only go to feed the animals that call the Humane Society of Tampa Bay home, but will also go toward their food assistance programs “Casper’s Cupboard” and “Animeals.”

A number of businesses and organizations donated necessary resources such as pet food, money, transportation services and much more to make this incredible donation possible. We’d like to thank AAA Cooper, FedEx Freight, Rodney Naughton and Joe Peckham of Phillips Pet Food & Supplies, Plant City Fla., Family Feed, Plant City Fla., Kay Brown of Hi-Tek Rations Inc, Dublin, Ga., Feeding America Tampa Bay, Taiga, Riverview, Fla., Reed TMS Logistics, Del Monte, Health Mut, Tamlin Homes, BluePearl Veterinary Partners and Knights Station Feed Depot.

We’re already strategizing how we are going to beat this record next year!

 

BlueGrace CFO, Mike Dolski, Named Finalist in Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2014 CFO of the Year!

 

Dolski pic
Mike Dolski, CFO of BlueGrace Logistics

BlueGrace Logistics is honored to have our CFO, Mike Dolski, named as one of the finalists in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2014 CFO of the Year. Mike has implemented a number of successful strategies that have led to success and growth for BlueGrace. He implemented “Rules of Engagement,” which has compelled both our organization and our partners to build strong, mutually beneficial relationships. This strategic move has helped BlueGrace grow more than 7,000 percent from 2009-2013.

Mike has also played a crucial role in positioning BlueGrace to prepare for the growth of our franchise channel. He mentors new franchisees, helping them understand the importance of protecting their initial cash flow versus maximizing their initial gross profit.

“It was unexpected but I’m honored to be considered for this,” Mike said. “We have all worked very hard to create a fun and strong company and I’m appreciative that my efforts, and the efforts of our wonderful employees, have resulted in my inclusion on this list.”

An awards ceremony will be held on February 26 at A La Carte Event Pavilion to honor finalists. Congratulations Mike!

BlueGrace Logistics & Metropolitan Ministries gear up for back-to-school season through Backpacks of Hope!

Can you hear those school bells ringing? As BlueGrace employees begin to prepare their own children for back-to-school, we’re also thinking about all the children in the Tampa Bay community and the folks at Metropolitan Ministries. Metropolitan Ministries is partnering with local school districts and organizations, including YMCA of Brandon to gather and distribute important school supplies to less fortunate children throughout Hillsborough County. Each year, Backpacks of Hope makes a difference in the lives of those in the Tampa Bay community, getting children excited about the new school year and into the learning spirit!

BlueGrace Logistic & Metropolitan Ministries gears up for back-to-school season through Backpacks of Hope!
Employees at BlueGrace Logistics pitch in to support Metropolitan Ministries and Backpacks of Hope for children this Back-to-School season.

Content to Collect:

  • New Backpack (teens and children)
  • 3 Ring Binder (1-1.5”)
  • Copy Paper
  • Thumb Drive
  • Calculator
  • College Rule Paper
  • Eraser (block)
  • 12” Ruler
  • Composition Notebook
  • 10 Pack of Pencils
  • Highlighter
  • Pencil Case
  • Colored Pencils
  • 3 Subject Spiral Notebook
  • Children’s Scissors

We’ve got a fun bunch here at BlueGrace Logistics, so we’re taking it a step further and on Friday, Aug. 3 The team is dressing up as nerds (Look out for pictures on the BlueGrace Facebook Page!) That’s right, get out the suspenders, plastic frame glasses with tape, and rolled up pants – BlueGrace Logistics is going to back-to-school in style!

It’s always important to have team building events to get departments mingling and add something new to your day-to-day business operations. Is your company helping out a local charity this back-to-school season? Share your story with us here, on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you are! BlueGrace Logistics strongly believes community involvement benefits our employees and overall morale, check out this article to see what we mean.

If you’d like to contribute or learn more about Metropolitan Ministries, please visit their website at: http://www.metromin.org/. To learn more about BlueGrace Logistics, visit www.mybluegrace.com, email us, or call 800.MY.SHIPPING. We’d love to hear from YOU!

BlueGrace Logistics Sponsors Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s 2012 “Tuxes & Tails” Event

The BlueGrace team poses for a group photo by Super Booch Party Portraits.
BlueGrace Logistics enjoyed a night out for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay's "Tuxes & Tails" event!

Celebrating 100 years of saving lives, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB) hosted its 10th Annual Tuxes & Tails event at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, FL on Saturday, May 5, 2012. As a proud sponsor of this event, the BlueGrace Logistics team went out to support the cause and experience this heart-warming, black-tie affair. Attendees celebrated the night with live music, cocktails, dinner, silent and live auctions and a fashion show. The community’s heart was touched by the incredible stories shared about animals in search of a loving family and successful adoptions such as the friendship of Rocky and soon-to-be 3 year old Mirielle. The event was a huge success! HSTB announced that more than $265,000 was raised, saving the lives of approximately 1,000 animals. Check out the pictures of the Tuxes & Tail on the BlueGrace Facebook page and HSTB.

Congratulations to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, staff and volunteers! Your hearts and efforts are greatly appreciated by companies like BlueGrace Logistics and others in the Tampa Bay community.

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is BlueGrace Logistics’ charity of choice. The HSTB staff visit the corporate office periodically to conduct orientations and provide information about how employees can get involved. Our 2nd Annual Cats vs. Dogs (females vs males) pet food drive raised over 6,700 lbs of food for the organization. BlueGrace Logistics’ CEO and President, Bobby Harris, commented on the contest contributions by saying, “I get asked often as to what defines success, and many times people are seeking a dollar number. I can promise you it’s not dollars that make us successful but rather the things we do for others… The motto ‘People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care’ is at work here alongside each of us.”

If you would like to learn more about how you can lend a hand to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, please visit their website or contact one of their team members to get involved in events, giving, and volunteer opportunities. HSTB also offers an affordable spay/neuter and wellness clinic to keep your furry friends happy and healthy.

Meow, Woof!

-Samantha Hill, Community Manager
Twitter: @SamHill_BG

SportsFest Teaches Lessons in Teamwork

Where’s one place you can catch employees and executives battling side-by-side in the sandy trenches of a beautiful Florida beach? Why America II Corporate SportsFest of course!

Once a year 150+ companies from across Tampa Bay compete for the esteemed title of SportsFest Champions… a position that we at BlueGrace® Logistics do not take lightly. This year brought our 3rd go-round at the event and our team of 41 players was pumped full of excitement and eager to compete! Never before have you seen such camaraderie covered in tanning oil; just bring your team spirit and game-face… no athletic skills necessary!

With five events to participate in, co-workers certainly get a chance to bond. Considering our staff has nearly doubled in size since last year’s fest, it was a perfect opportunity to get to know some of the new faces. Heather Anderson, our Culture Coordinator and Team Captain raves how beneficial the games are for team building,

A lot of our employees are die hard competitors, so it’s nice to have to depend on each other to beat the other teams.

Mudwars 2011 St. Petersburg, FL
BlueGrace team demonstrates what they're made of at Mudwars 2011.

Though BlueGrace employees make it look easy to function as team in the workplace, it does not happen automatically. Ideas for team building activities come from all employees and are supported by the leadership staff. BlueGrace schedules group activities including company softball and bowling league, Mudwars, and monthly themed office days such as barbeques, potlucks, corn hole tournaments, and #FreeBeerFriday (after 4pm). Each event allows employees to engage with one another to build stronger relationships and contribute more effectively in a team environment. In 2011 and 2012, BlueGrace Logistics was honored to be recognized as a Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work finalist.

Effective teamwork can yield incredible results, in the sand or the workplace. Listed below are just some reasons to participate in team-building activities within your company:

  • Creates unity where everyone is focused on a common goal
  • Encourages employees take ownership in the company’s success
  • Keeps everyone on a level playing field promoting a leaner business model
  • Increases the ability to adapt by fostering flexibility
  • Boosts morale by encouraging achievement

Though we didn’t come home with a win from SportsFest, we consistently win at providing the best service to our customers thanks to our stellar employees and impeccable teamwork. Babe Ruth said it best,

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

To join our team of MVPs, contact our recruiting team via email or follow them on Twitter @BGCareers to learn more about career opportunities. Did you participate in SportsFest this year? Does your company conduct regular team building activities? Tell us about it!

 

-Jennifer Masters, Business Information Analyst
Twitter: @BG_JennyD 

Logistics, MMA and the Power of 140 Characters

If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts (MMA), you may have seen the BlueGrace® Logistics logo slapped on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC®) fighters’ shorts. You might ask yourself, “Why is a logistics service provider sponsoring this sport?

Carlos Condit (left) kicks Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 143. Photo by Esther Lin via MMAFighting
BlueGrace Logistics sponsors Carlos Condit in Interim Welterweight Championship UFC 143. Source: http://sbn.to/AD4W26

MMA is one of the fastest growing sports today and the fighters demonstrate admirable character and values (not often seen in other sports). Not to mention, the UFC has made a huge impression on the sports industry as whole through its social media madness! Although professional MMA fighting is banned in certain states, that hasn’t stopped the UFC from growing its devoted fan base. In fact, the President, Dana White, embraced the power of Twitter for branding and fan engagement. He invested in a media agency to teach the fighters how to use the social platform and instructed them by saying, “I want you to Twitter your *** off!”

Like Dana, President and CEO of BlueGrace Logistics, Bobby Harris, is an enthusiastic advocate of Twitter. Last year, Bobby championed an open social media policy for all BlueGrace employees; instilling trust to represent the brand, all BlueGrace employees complete a Twitter boot camp and social media training in their first week of employment. They’re educated on the power of social media, how to engage and build relationships, and why it is part of the #BGExperience. BlueGrace employees (fighters) interact with customers (fans), partners, and their fellow peers via Twitter.

BlueGrace Logistics Open Social Media Policy
BlueGrace President and CEO, Bobby Harris, teaches Twitter 101 to employees.

It is our mission to provide businesses with the tools and technology required to power their logistics operations in a seamless and efficient manner. We believe that social media provides a forum for open discussion with employees, customers, and partners; where industry experts can ask questions, find answers, and build meaningful relationships.  Social media is the future of supply chain management and logistics – its real-time information sharing capabilities are critical. As the UFC Social Media Manager says, “You can reach anyone, anywhere in the world.”

Watch how we’ve even incorporated mixed martial arts into our corporate training program. Are you or someone you know looking for a career? Get to know BlueGrace and join our team of logistics professionals!

Dana White and the UFC are to be commended on their commitment to social media and for demonstrating what #GreatnessIs … just ask their millions of die-hard fans! The UFC and BlueGrace Logistics made the critical move and experience the power of social media and business everyday – has your business?

Share your social biz story with us! Have you started? Are you way ahead of the game? Do you believe in the power of 140 characters? We want to know!

-Samantha Hill, Community Manager
Twitter: @SamHill_BG

Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads

Companies spend millions of dollars on advertisements for a Super Bowl spot on TV. Was 2012 better or worse than years past? Did brands live up to consumer expectations or did they overdo their presence and simply “bomb it.”

BlueGrace Logistics conducted an internal survey to see what employee’s viewed as the best and worst Super Bowl XLVI commercials

Ms. Brown Super Bowl Ad "Sexy and I know it"

Best Super Bowl Ads:

  1. M&Ms – Ms. Brown
    “I just liked it because it was actually funny.” – @Yvonne_BG
  2. Bud Light – Rescue Dog: Weego
    “There is nothing like sweet puppy love and I liked that they were promoting pet rescue.” – @HeatherA_BG
  3. Doritos – Man’s Best Friend
    “It was hilarious when the dog passed the guy chips with the note.” – @Debbi_BG

Worst Super Bowl Ads:

Cars.com Super Bowl Ad features man with two heads.
  1. Cars.com – Two Heads
    “The singing head thing was just creepy…” – @BG_Geoffman
  2. GoDaddy – Girls in Action
    “I am getting so sick of their marketing campaign. It does not relay a message about the product in any way and is becoming predictable.”  – @ConanBG
  3. Coca-Cola – Superstition / Catch
    “They were old and outdated.” – @NickL_BG

Honorable Mentions:

H&M: Reviews of this particular ad vary depending on the gender. Ladies may gawk and say “David Beckham….What a man!!!” (@2Dolla_BG)  While men respond by commenting, “Millions of men watch the Super Bowl and an ad with a dude in underwear pops up.  Horrible idea.” (@BGrulez)  Either way, it earned its way to the top of the list as Ad Age’s “The 10 Super Bowl Commercials That Blew up the Biggest in Social Media” with 100,000+ social media comments.

Chrysler “It’s Half-time in America” featuring Clint Eastwood: While some feel that this Super Bowl spot was too serious, others may argue saying, “It said everything it needed to. It stayed non-partisan and did point any fingers” (@MarkJ_BG) or “[Its] so timely and emotional. I am tearing up just thinking about this one. This could quite possibly be one of the all-time best commercials.” (@ConanBG)

There are numerous lists and rankings of the best and worst Super Bowl commercials, this one is ours. What is yours? Leave a comment below!

– Samantha Hill, Community Manager
Follow me on Twitter @SamHill_BG

Life on Your Own Terms

While waiting on a flight out of Chicago last year I stepped into an airport lounge to pass time. The only available seat was a bar stool next to this old guy who looked as if he had seen a better day some time ago. But I took my chances, sat down, and ordered a beer that arrived only mildly cold and served in a plastic cup.

I had just received a job offer that sounded good enough for me to consider relocating. I had a lot on my mind and wasn’t in the mood for much conversation, but I soon found myself listening to this guy’s story. He didn’t really have much to tell so that wasn’t what captivated me into listening to him – he had been in sales for 30 years, traveled a lot, was divorced but had some kids and grandkids that he saw mostly on holidays. Pretty soon my flight was called and as I got up to leave he said “Hey kid, remember ya’ gotta live life on your own terms” and this is what I have remembered from that day in the Chicago airport.

I have spent some time thinking about what this old guy said to me and how it applies not just to my personal life, but how it applies to my career. I have found that if you are going to be successful, the same principles and values you apply to your personal life also apply to your business life.  I am in sales because I love being with people and if I am somehow able to serve and enrich the lives of the people around me while still attaining some personal and financial success than I am “living life on my own terms.”

At BlueGrace Logistics the mission is “to create an enduring, people-centered culture that drives our ambition to become the most progressive and innovative enterprise in the logistics industry while enriching the lives of our employees, customers and vendors.”  BlueGrace is successful because the mission is people centered for their employees as well as the customers and vendors. This mission has been easy to adopt as my own. It’s a good fit because the principles and values outlined in the BlueGrace mission statement are the same that I hold and that allow me to conduct business “on my own terms”. I am able to focus on the people I serve and supply them with the best tools I can to get the job done and with that I am able to benefit the company and myself included.

– Bryan Byak, Account Manager
Follow me @bryanbyak

Meet Brent, Starting Fly Half and All Star Customer Service Rep

Brent Couffer

Brent Couffer began his career as a Customer Service Representative here at BlueGrace back in March of this year.  Brent’s role at BlueGrace is to provide the customer with top-level service by addressing any needs that may arise at any given time.  In fact, Brent even went as far as to email a customer back in forth late into the evening to ensure that a shipment was moved on time.  As Brent once told one of our inside sales rep’s, “You keep bringing in the customers and I’ll make sure that they are taken care of!” Brent’s favorite aspect of his job is putting smiles on people’s face and absorbing/learning as much as possible about the logistics industry and business in general. 

Prior to working at BlueGrace, Brent was a full time student at the University of South Florida (USF) where he studied Finance.  Oh yeah, let’s not forget to mention that he is the President and starting fly half for the USF Rugby Football team who are ranked fourth in the nation!!!  When Brent is not busy working and playing rugby, he enjoys spending time on the water in sunny Florida.  Also, he is one of our all stars on the BlueGrace Kickball Team.  If you have any questions or would like to contact Brent, please email bcouffer@mybluegrace.com or post a comment. You can also follow Brent on Twitter @BGWeezy.

Introducing Ben Dundas

Ben Dundas

BlueGrace would like to introduce you to Ben Dundas, our current Systems Analyst.  Ben graduated from the University of South Florida in 2009 and went on to work at Feed-a-Bull where he focused on web and art development.  Ben began working for BlueGrace back in February as an Inside Sales Representative and quickly transitioned to his current position as a Systems Analyst focusing on web development.  One of his current focuses is to improve the functionality and information on the website.  Another feature that has just been added to the website is live chat to improve our customer experience. 

Ben will be working diligently to meet all of the goals for the website.  Of course, when Ben is not working, he enjoys watching football and spending time with his family.  Ben’s favorite team is the Bucs; however, he is an avid USF Bulls fan.  In fact, Ben was on live national television 5 straight USF games in a row! That’s impressive!  In addition to sports, Ben also plays a major role in his fraternity Delta Chi. If you would like to contact Ben, please email bdundas@mybluegrace.com or submit a comment below. You can also follow him on Twitter @ben37dBG. Feel free to submit any website suggestions. Feedback is always appreciated!

Meet Juan Ortiz

 

This week’s employee spotlight is on Juan Ortiz, a customer service representative here at BlueGrace’s corporate office.  The very first time meeting Juan, you would immediately be impressed with his passion for life and his caring for others.  To say that Juan is just “a customer service representative” is a complete understatement.  From the minute the BlueGrace customer calls in and speaks with Juan, they get to experience what we like to call “The BlueGrace Difference.”  Juan gets to know each one of the customers on a personal level whether it is teaching them something in Spanish (Did I forget to mention that he is also Bilingual!) or them teaching him something like how to speak with a Southern draw. Juan takes care of each customer as if they were a personal friend and goes above and beyond to put even the angriest customer at ease.  He might tell them a joke to make them laugh or even say something as simple as please and thank you. 
 


Juan has been with BlueGrace for just shy of 4 months.  He comes to BlueGrace with a smile on his face everyday and possesses a drive that is unsurpassable.  Prior to working for BlueGrace, Juan was a Warehouse Manager for Argix Direct for two years.  Juan joined BlueGrace with a working knowledge of the logistics industry.  Prior to his logistics experience, Juan was a police officer for 10 years.  When Juan is not striving to meet his many goals, he enjoys Latin dancing.  His Latin flair and his overwhelming exuberance are simply infectious here at BlueGrace.  BlueGrace is proud to have Juan as a team member!  If you would like to contact him, please email jortiz@mybluegrace.com or simply post a comment.