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Hemisphere Freight and Brokerage - Team Photo


Our People, Your Strength

Penny Downer founded Hemisphere in 1985, one of a handful of women in the Canadian customs brokerage industry at the time.


Before becoming an entrepreneur, Penny worked as a rate clerk for a large international customs broker. After her second child was born, her employer was not able to promise that her position would be available after her maternity leave. So Penny took her roll-a-dex and decided to set up her own operation. She called everyone in that roll-a-dex that she’d built relationships with over the years, and invited them to join her at her new venture: Hemisphere. 


Despite the competing responsibilities of raising a family while starting a business, she made both work. Penny’s customer’s knew she was like a pitbull. She was tenacious, and she got things done–that’s just how she was. They partnered with Hemisphere because they knew with Penny, failure was not an option. Hemisphere was born out of her determination, perseverance, and passionate dedication to customer satisfaction. These values are what make Hemisphere a success to this day.


In the early nineties, Penny was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was very difficult, but the family she raised, pulled together, and got her the care she needed to retire in comfort. In 2013, her son Charles took over as President and her daughter Lisa joined as Vice President. 


Today the Hemisphere team keeps Penny’s legacy alive through a growing network of partners and affiliates, including many customers from her roll-a-dex – and many more from across the world.

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Sharon Windsor



Cynthia Daniel - Hemisphere.jpg
Cynthia Daniel

Rate Clerk, Trucking

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Cathy Mandalari

Accounts Receivable & Payable

Gifty Kwaw - Hemisphere.jpg
Gifty Kwaw

Sr. Rate Clerk, Air & Ocean

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Joe DiGrigoli

Office Manager

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Shanti Sud

Sr. Rate Clerk, Trucking

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Erik Argaez

Jr. Rate Clerk

Charles Grybowski - hemisphere
“Our team–and my family–are proud to carry forward the values of excellent communication, transparency, and efficiency that Hemisphere was founded on, by continuing to meet and exceed our customer’s expectations at every opportunity.”

– Charles Grybowski,
President, Hemisphere

Restaurant manager and employee ordering shipments - hemisphere
Don’t just take our word for it.

“Working with Joe over at Hemisphere takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders and gives me peace of mind. One time, a license expired and the attorney in charge had left the company so I had no idea. An expired license is a major issue when you’re importing or exporting 7 to 10 loads from the US to Canada per week. Thankfully Joe caught the oversight, told me about it, and helped me renew the license before it interfered with our shipments. OSI is truly fortunate to have Hemisphere as a partner.”

– Michael Goldman,
VP of National Accounts, OSI Industries LLC. Aurora, Illinois

Here’s What Our Customers Say

Black woman taking phone call - hemisphere

We’re waiting for your call.

Our licensed customs brokers are standing by 24/7 to answer your import/export questions.
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