Let’s be Safe Out There

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Cold weather running is certainly a challenge for those of us who live in states north of the Mendoza Line (please Google if you are perplexed by this geographical line).  If you choose to run outdoors in the winter, there are numerous running publications that can help you “survive” the cold.  But to save you hours of  inquiry - here are some tips.

  1. Use shoes that have the least amount of mesh. Wear socks that keep wetness away, but keep your feet warm.
  2. Wear gloves and stocking cap. Minnesota Running Hall of Fame member Gerry Smith says: “ Dress comfortably, including wearing layers and see what feels comfortable for you.  Many running gurus suggest that when the temp dips below zero, run indoors. “
  3. Wear reflective clothing as piles of snow can make it harder for others to see you. If running in early morning or after sunset, carry and use a flashlight!
  4. If it is a windy day, start your run into the wind so the wind doesn’t chill you after you have broken a sweat.
  5. Winter running is more about maintenance than speed. Your speed workouts can be saved for spring.

ENJOY your running regimen and be safe out there.  And let me finish with the words of my former neighbor (and experienced runner):  “Before you criticize someone, you should run a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you do criticize them – you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”  Ponder that one for a while.

Finally, be thinking while you run about all the ways to make TOCA the best membership association it can be and how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

Anyone who responds positively to the editors regarding this issue’s running article will be rewarded famously at the next TOCA Annual Meeting.  See you in Tampa.

Don't wind up on your backside, like Den, shown here.

Don't wind up on your backside, like Den, shown here.

Former TOCA Member Hal Dickey from PBI-Gordon Dies

380335_Hal Dickey for from FB profile

Long-time TOCA member, formerly from PBI-Gordon, Hal Dickey recently died at the age of 88. Hal was one of the original members of TOCA back in the early 1990s. He was, as PBI-Gordon’s Doug Obermann says: “He was a wonderful story teller of life events and one great dancer in his time.”

Hal was an annual attendee of TOCA’s May meetings. He was immensely proud of his membership in AA (and was always proud to note he was alcohol-free for 52 years).

Hal Dickey, green pants, on the tour at Microsoft in Seattle

“Hal is now dancing in heaven AND driving his car with CHA-CHA plates,” says Doug. Doug adds that Hal did many wonderful things for PBI-Gordon. Those of us who knew Hal during is TOCA days can say the same.

We will miss Hal.

TOCA and Ewing Host Successful Fireside Chat at the Irrigation Show

TOCA hosted the first Fireside Chat, sponsored by Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply,20161207_141435 at the Irrigation Show on December 7, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  More than 25 TOCA members and green industry communicators gathered to hear Cliff Woodbury ask “Is Anyone Listening?”

Woodbury is the senior vice president of culture and engagement at Ewing, and discussed ways in which communicators can strengthen and better business-to-business communication within their companies and industry by listening.

TOCA hopes to build upon the success of this event at future Irrigation Shows.

20161207_134245

20161207_142131

Membership Drive and Young Professional Offer

The 2017 Membership Drive is Underway!

By Kyle Wieskus
Membership Director

All members should have received their 2017 membership renewal email. If you have any questions, need any changes made to invoices – please don’t hesitate to send an email to me at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com or call 952-758-6340.  Click here to renew online .

Along with your 2017 renewal, we sent you information on the 2017 Membership Drive Contest!  We are very excited about this contest and the information bears repeating – so please keep on reading the highlights below and find out how you can win some cold hard cash!

Recruit members to TOCA and you personally will receive cash – hundreds of dollars!

The TOCA Simple Membership Rewards Program.

  • Win $300 by recruiting the most NEW members to TOCA in 2017,
  • Win $250 by recruiting the second most NEW members,
  • Win $200 by recruiting the third most NEW members,
  • Win $150 by recruiting the fourth most NEW members,
  • Win $100 by recruiting the fifth most NEW members, and
  • A bonus of $25 for every member who recruits more than five new members.

What’s a NEW member? Simply (are you catching a theme here), someone who wasn’t a TOCA member in 2016.

All you have to do to be eligible to win in this contest is be a member in good-standing of TOCA for 2017. On the new membership application this year, a line will be included for the member to note who recruited them to TOCA.

If your name is on that new member’s application for membership, you will be eligible to win. Or, simply contact our TOCA membership director Kyle Wieskus at:  kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com and notify her about who you recruited.  We’ll be keeping a tally.

Another exciting component of this new membership drive is the Young Professional (YP) Membership Offer!  We believe that recruitment of “Young Professionals” (those 35 and under) will lead to the successful continued growth of TOCA. We are excited to offer to organizations (any current member company, association, agency, etc.) with two or more paying members in 2017 the opportunity to receive one free, young professional membership to a new TOCA member.

By making membership accessible and affordable for YPs, there are three distinct group benefits:

  • TOCA benefits as an organization by growing in numbers and our communications contest award applications; the organization is positioned for future success and longevity by introducing younger members into the community.
  • Member companies and organizations are able to potentially recruit new talent and develop the abilities of their YP workforce.
  • Young Professionals (YPs) will see TOCA as a community of mentors, capable of providing them with industry specific skills, strategies and connections they cannot find elsewhere.

Please contact the TOCA staff if you would like to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

So start today! First, renew your 2017 membership in TOCA. See the attached form and invoice or renew online here.

Thanks in advance for your membership renewal and let’s all do our part to grow our association!


Buy 2 Get 1 Young Professional Membership FREE!

By Dawn Rigby
Marketing Manager
Advanced Turf Solutions

Calling all young professionals! You could qualify for free TOCA membership. The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is extending an offer for free Awards dinner table2membership to qualifying young professionals. The new program applies to green industry communicators 35 and under. The company membership in TOCA must have two paid memberships for each free young professional membership.

For example: An individual membership costs $140. Each additional member in a company is $90. If a company has three members, and at least one of them is 35 or under, the first member is $140, the second member is $90, and the third member is free. That’s three TOCA memberships for $230!

Add this great deal to the incentive program offered ALL our members for cash means there are many ways to be a part of TOCA at a very reasonable price, recruit members and make a bundle of cash yourself. Go to www.toca.org for more information. Click here for more information.

TOCA, Jacobsen, Syngenta and GCSAA/Golf Course Management Magazine Offer New Member Breakfast Reception at Golf Industry Show (GIS)

You are invited to the breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Orlando, Fla. jacobsen_footerGet together with your domestic and international TOCA friends, invite new folks to join us and enjoy the breakfast, sponsored by Jacobsen and Syngenta, along with GCSAA.Syngenta_logo

Breakfast Details:

For Whom:  TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Where:  Rosen Centre Hotel, Salon 7/8

Time:     7:00-8:15 a.m. breakfast and TOCA update

Please feel free to invite colleagues and prospective members to the breakfast.

Watch your inbox for the invitation and reminders.  Please remember to RSVP. Any questions, you may contact Den Gardner or Kristy Mach at 952-758-6340 or e-mail toca@gandgcomm.com.

Thanks and see you in Orlando!

Getting out of your comfort zone

By Scott HollisterGCSAA 2014 Board and Staff Photos
TOCA Board Chair

In December, I had the opportunity to attend a unique educational event for golf course superintendents presented by one of TOCA’s loyal sponsors, Syngenta. The three-day event was unique because it didn’t cover the territory you might expect it would cover. There was no agronomy, no talk of turf diseases or Syngenta reps pushing the latest fungicides or pesticides.

Instead, the 26 superintendents from across the country came together in Winston-Salem, N.C., to talk business, to absorb advanced, executive-level education presented by staff from Wake Forest University’s School of Business. They were there to take deep dives into areas such as financial management, negotiating and leadership.

The curriculum covered topics that most wouldn’t normally associate with turfgrass managers and their desired professional development goals. Yet, almost to a man, the superintendents I spoke with told me that’s exactly why they wanted to take part in these proceedings. Being forced out of their comfort zone in this way made this event — now in its eighth year — extremely attractive to them. And they weren’t alone — in all, more than 90 superintendents applied for the 26 open slots in this year’s class.

As I sat through these sessions, I thought about TOCA’s own premier professional-development event, our Annual Meeting, set for May 2-4, 2017 at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla. I’ve played a small role in the planning of this event, and I can tell you that as we worked to identify potential topics for the sessions in Tampa, we did our best to look for the new, the different, the unique — topics that would take you out of your own professional comfort zone.

Ours is a diverse membership with diverse professional needs. We have editors and Group Photo from abovepublishers of trade publications. We have public relations practitioners. We have marketers, video production experts, social media specialists. Trying to identify areas of study that appeal equally to each of those groups is, in a word, challenging.

But I believe that TOCA has done a good job of identifying topics for its annual meeting that will hold common interest for all of us, regardless of job title, and improve our professional skills and abilities. And we’ve tried to put spins on those topics so we’re not hearing the same old message, that we’re expanding into new territories and we’re being pushed out of our comfort zones like the superintendents who attended Syngenta’s business event.

This year, the annual meeting will feature sessions on second-generation social media use by business, agencies, publications and end users. It will explore tips and tricks to help improve your technical writing skills. And it will offer an in-depth look at crisis communications and how to guide your organization or your clients through those stormy waters.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be an unsettling experience. But the superintendents who took that leap in December learned just how valuable that exercise can ultimately be. I hope many of you will experience the same thing at TOCA’s Annual Meeting, and I look forward to seeing you all in Tampa.

TOCA Talk – Winter 2017

EnP-basic

The Winter 2017 issue of TOCA Talk is sponsored by EnP.

EnP has been Engineering Optimal Plant Health™ for nearly 30 years. We manufacture liquid and dry fertilizers under three brands: EnP Turf, Foliar-Pak, and Age Old Nutrients. We believe that collaboration and the exchange of ideas are essential for innovation, which is why we are proud to support the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association.


Getting out of your comfort zone

By Scott HollisterGCSAA 2014 Board and Staff Photos
TOCA Board Chair

In December, I had the opportunity to attend a unique educational event for golf course superintendents presented by one of TOCA’s loyal sponsors, Syngenta. The three-day event was unique because it didn’t cover the territory you might expect it would cover. There was no agronomy, no talk of turf diseases or Syngenta reps pushing the latest fungicides or pesticides.

Instead, the 26 superintendents from across the country came together in Winston-Salem, N.C., to talk business, to absorb advanced, executive-level education presented by staff from Wake Forest University’s School of Business. They were there to take deep dives into areas such as financial management, negotiating and leadership.

The curriculum covered topics that most wouldn’t normally associate with turfgrass managers and their desired professional development goals. Yet, almost to a man, the superintendents I spoke with told me that’s exactly why they wanted to take part in these proceedings. Being forced out of their comfort zone in this way made this event — now in its eighth year — extremely attractive to them. And they weren’t alone — in all, more than 90 superintendents applied for the 26 open slots in this year’s class.

As I sat through these sessions, I thought about TOCA’s own premier professional-development event, our Annual Meeting, set for May 2-4, 2017 at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla. I’ve played a small role in the planning of this event, and I can tell you that as we worked to identify potential topics for the sessions in Tampa, we did our best to look for the new, the different, the unique — topics that would take you out of your own professional comfort zone.

Ours is a diverse membership with diverse professional needs. We have editors and Group Photo from abovepublishers of trade publications. We have public relations practitioners. We have marketers, video production experts, social media specialists. Trying to identify areas of study that appeal equally to each of those groups is, in a word, challenging.

But I believe that TOCA has done a good job of identifying topics for its annual meeting that will hold common interest for all of us, regardless of job title, and improve our professional skills and abilities. And we’ve tried to put spins on those topics so we’re not hearing the same old message, that we’re expanding into new territories and we’re being pushed out of our comfort zones like the superintendents who attended Syngenta’s business event.

This year, the annual meeting will feature sessions on second-generation social media use by business, agencies, publications and end users. It will explore tips and tricks to help improve your technical writing skills. And it will offer an in-depth look at crisis communications and how to guide your organization or your clients through those stormy waters.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be an unsettling experience. But the superintendents who took that leap in December learned just how valuable that exercise can ultimately be. I hope many of you will experience the same thing at TOCA’s Annual Meeting, and I look forward to seeing you all in Tampa.


TOCA, Jacobsen, Syngenta and GCSAA/Golf Course Management Magazine Offer

New Member Breakfast Reception at Golf Industry Show (GIS)

You are invited to the breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Orlando, Fla. jacobsen_footerGet together with your domestic and international TOCA friends, invite new folks to join us and enjoy the breakfast, sponsored by Jacobsen and Syngenta, along with GCSAA.Syngenta_logo

Breakfast Details:

For Whom:  TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Where:  Rosen Centre Hotel, Salon 7/8

Time:     7:00-8:15 a.m. breakfast and TOCA update

Please feel free to invite colleagues and prospective members to the breakfast.

Watch your inbox for the invitation and reminders.  Please remember to RSVP. Any questions, you may contact Den Gardner or Kristy Mach at 952-758-6340 or e-mail toca@gandgcomm.com.

Thanks and see you in Orlando!


Resorting to Revving Up Your Communications

 By Den Gardner and Scott Hollister

TOCA’s 28th annual meeting returns to Florida for only the second time – and the first time since 1999 – in its history as Tampa is the site from May 2-5 at Saddlebrook Resort.

Additionally, TOCA members will enjoy a first in Tampa in that we will be at a golf, spa and tennis resort. Thus, the theme is appropriate: “Resorting to Revving Up Your Communications.”Print

TOCA’s Annual Meeting Committee has worked hard to plan an event with great professional development, tours, networking and the presentation of our association’s communications’ awards for the best writing, design, photo and video production work in the business.

Highlighting the professional development portion of the annual meeting will be two sessions with Roy Peter Clark, a senior scholar and vice president with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Clark is an author of three books on writing and a noted writing coach who has worked with journalists and writers all over the world. Clark will share his business writing expertise with TOCA members during a pair of Thursday morning sessions in Tampa.

The professional development slate in Tampa will also include sessions on social media that will take attendees far past the basics and focus on how best publications, agencies, associations and companies can use the medium to connect with their audiences. And yet another session will offer expert advice on crisis communications and issues management.

The agenda for the meeting itself will take on a familiar look for members. There is the Sand-Hill-Cranes-on-Golf-Coursetraditional board meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 2. The TOCA Foundation board meeting will also be conducted at this time. Members are always invited to the meeting. The evening will feature an informal gathering of members at T.D.’s Sports Bar at Saddlebrook. Members will be on their own to mingle and enjoy some libations.

Wednesday morning will be professional development, followed by the golf (on site) or the tour of some of the great horticultural areas of Tampa. Tentative plans are for a backstage visit at Busch Gardens and a trip to George Steinbrenner Field, spring training home of the New York Yankees. Details to come.

Thursday presents more professional development throughout the day. The annual awards dinner and presentation of the best communications work of TOCA will conclude the activities in the evening.

Members may consider staying the weekend at one of the premier resorts in Florida, if not the country. The resort will welcome our members to the many amenities Saddlebrook has to offer.

The 2017 agenda will be available online soon. Registration should be open by early February. Watch the TOCA web site: www.toca.org, for more information in the meantime.

See you in Tampa in 2017!

Tuesday, May 2

2:00 p.m. – Board Meeting – Boardroom B

6:00 p.m. – Informal gathering of members who want to attend at T.D.’s Sports Bar.

7:00 p.m. – Board Dinner – Dempsey’s Steakhouse – same location as T.D.’s SB (Limited Menu)

Wednesday, May 3

7:00-9:00 a.m. – Breakfast on your own at Saddlebrook .

(Tropics Restaurant has buffet breakfast for $20)

9:00-9:45 a.m. – Welcome, introductions, scholarship/intern recognition. Pegasus East Room

  • Continental Breakfast in Pegasus Foyer

9:45 -10:15 a.m. – Environmental Communicator of the Year presentation. Will include a 15-minute presentation by person selected on some of his/her accomplishments.

10:15-10:30 a.m. – Plant Health Writer of the Year presentation.

10:30-10:45 a.m. – Break

10:45-Noon – "Preparing for the Worst: Communicating in a Crisis"  Lisa Lochridge, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

Lisa Lochridge is director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. She manages communications with its members and the media on topics ranging from food safety to immigration reform.

Previously, Ms. Lochridge was an executive with CBR Public Relations in Maitland, FL, providing clients with media relations, issues management and crisis communication counsel. From 1978 to 1999, she worked in various editorial and management capacities with the Orlando Sentinel, including six years as Seminole County bureau chief.  

A Florida native, Ms. Lochridge holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in communications from the University of Central Florida. 

Noon-6:00 p.m. – Busch Gardens/Yankees Training camp (Box lunch for attendees)

Noon-6:00 p.m. – Golf/Saddlebrook  (four foursomes)—(Box lunch for golfers)

 7:00-9:00 p.m. – Opening Night Reception/Silent Auction (NEW!) – Tropics Terrace and Restaurant

Thursday, May 4

7 a.m. – TOCA Run Club and walkers.  ( 3-mile route available at resort.)

8:00-9:00 a.m. – Breakfast - TOCA committees will meet during complimentary breakfast for members – Pegasus East 1-4.

9:00-10:15 a.m. – Seminar: Roy Peter Clark – Part I. Pegasus East

10:15-10:30 a.m. – Break

10:30-Noon – Seminar: Roy Peter Clark – Part II  Pegasus East

Noon-12:45 p.m. – Lunch  -- Pegasus East 1-4

12:45-1:00 p.m. – Group Photo (Golf course – 18th green or…)

1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m. –  Seminar: Social Media 2.0 EPIC Creative. Pegasus East

2:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m. – Break

3:00-4:00 p.m. – Seminar: Social Media 2.0. End-User Panel Discussion. Pegasus East

 4:00-5:00 p.m. – Business Meeting. Pegasus East

5:00 p.m. – Adjourn

6:30 p.m. – Reception.  Lagoon Pavilion

7:30-9:30 p.m. – Dinner and Awards Program. Lagoon Pavilion

Friday, May 6

Informal  breakfast on your own. Head for home at leisure.


The 2017 Membership Drive is Underway!

By Kyle Wieskus
Membership Director

All members should have received their 2017 membership renewal email. If you have any questions, need any changes made to invoices – please don’t hesitate to send an email to me at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com or call 952-758-6340.  Click here to renew online .

Along with your 2017 renewal, we sent you information on the 2017 Membership Drive Contest!  We are very excited about this contest and the information bears repeating – so please keep on reading the highlights below and find out how you can win some cold hard cash!

Recruit members to TOCA and you personally will receive cash – hundreds of dollars!

The TOCA Simple Membership Rewards Program.

  • Win $300 by recruiting the most NEW members to TOCA in 2017,
  • Win $250 by recruiting the second most NEW members,
  • Win $200 by recruiting the third most NEW members,
  • Win $150 by recruiting the fourth most NEW members,
  • Win $100 by recruiting the fifth most NEW members, and
  • A bonus of $25 for every member who recruits more than five new members.

What’s a NEW member? Simply (are you catching a theme here), someone who wasn’t a TOCA member in 2016.

All you have to do to be eligible to win in this contest is be a member in good-standing of TOCA for 2017. On the new membership application this year, a line will be included for the member to note who recruited them to TOCA.

If your name is on that new member’s application for membership, you will be eligible to win. Or, simply contact our TOCA membership director Kyle Wieskus at:  kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com and notify her about who you recruited.  We’ll be keeping a tally.

Another exciting component of this new membership drive is the Young Professional (YP) Membership Offer!  We believe that recruitment of “Young Professionals” (those 35 and under) will lead to the successful continued growth of TOCA. We are excited to offer to organizations (any current member company, association, agency, etc.) with two or more paying members in 2017 the opportunity to receive one free, young professional membership to a new TOCA member.

By making membership accessible and affordable for YPs, there are three distinct group benefits:

  • TOCA benefits as an organization by growing in numbers and our communications contest award applications; the organization is positioned for future success and longevity by introducing younger members into the community.
  • Member companies and organizations are able to potentially recruit new talent and develop the abilities of their YP workforce.
  • Young Professionals (YPs) will see TOCA as a community of mentors, capable of providing them with industry specific skills, strategies and connections they cannot find elsewhere.

Please contact the TOCA staff if you would like to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

So start today! First, renew your 2017 membership in TOCA. See the attached form and invoice or renew online here.

Thanks in advance for your membership renewal and let’s all do our part to grow our association!


Buy 2 Get 1 Young Professional Membership FREE!

By Dawn Rigby, Marketing Manager, Advanced Turf Solutions

Calling all young professionals! You could qualify for free TOCA membership. The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is extending an offer for free Awards dinner table2membership to qualifying young professionals. The new program applies to green industry communicators 35 and under. The company membership in TOCA must have two paid memberships for each free young professional membership.

For example: An individual membership costs $140. Each additional member in a company is $90. If a company has three members, and at least one of them is 35 or under, the first member is $140, the second member is $90, and the third member is free. That’s three TOCA memberships for $230!

Add this great deal to the incentive program offered ALL our members for cash means there are many ways to be a part of TOCA at a very reasonable price, recruit members and make a bundle of cash yourself. Go to www.toca.org for more information. Click here for more information.


The Truth about Debbie

By: Sara Bojar, Bader Rutter

Editor's Note:  Each issue, the TOCA Professional Development Committee profiles a TOCA Member -- and the stories live on under the Membership Tab of the TOCA Website. This issue, we profile board member Debbie Clayton.

Please tell us a little about your background -- where did you grow up?Debbie Clayton

I was born in Ohio. My dad was a large-animal veterinarian, but he joined the military when I was three, so my two sisters and I became Air Force brats. We lived in Maryland, New Orleans, Hawaii, Washington state, and Missouri, where I went to high school and college. My parents eventually settled in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC.

I'm proud to say I've visited all 50 states and still love to travel.

How did you get started in your career?

Armed with a degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri, I moved to Tallahassee, FL to seek my fortune. But it was during a recession, so I started out working as a waitress at the local Elks Club.

That job led to a connection at the Florida Dept. of Agriculture. During my interview there for an editor job, my (ultimate) boss said he wanted to hire a woman for three reasons:  she could be paid less, she would help with secretarial duties, and farmers would rather be interviewed by a woman. Remember, this was the mid-1970's when there weren't a ton of professional women. I said, "Yes, I'll take the job!"

I spent three years writing stories about Florida agriculture, then moved on to the

Bob Tracinski and Debbie Clayton

Pictured: Bob Tracinski, a former communications leader at John Deere and TOCA Hall of Fame member, with Debbie Clayton

Delaware Extension Service, which led to a PR job in Philadelphia handling agricultural accounts. From there I worked at PR agencies in New York, Baltimore and back in Philadelphia, where I started my own freelance writing/PR consulting business, Clayton Communications.

When did you begin working in the turf industry?

I was working for several chemical companies, and they often had companion turf products. One client, Aventis (a Bayer legacy company), hired me to write and produce their publication, The 19th Hole. I learned the golf industry in a hurry writing six features about golf course superintendents every month!

From there, I worked on multiple turf accounts and made it my specialty. Joining TOCA  in 1994 was a turning point in forging relationships in the Green Industry.  I still work in both ag and turf, offering writing, media relations, newsletter development, photography, event planning, social media and more.

Cindy_Lisa_Den_Steve

Early board photo from San Diego in the 1990's.

What do you like best about TOCA? 

Absolutely the camaraderie! I had been a part of other professional groups, which didn't necessarily embrace PR people. But I felt at home with TOCA right away, singing along to the oldies and comparing notes with editors about favorite books and movies. Of course, I like all the professional development at the annual meeting and the fact that I've gotten to know all the movers and shakers in the business through networking and mentoring.

I was secretary-treasurer for 10 years, I’ve served on the board for another 10 years, and I spearhead the Professional Development committee. I’ve only missed one annual meeting in the last 22 years, so I guess you could call me a TOCA Nerd!

Tell us about your family.

I've been married to a fellow PR professional, the wonderful Jim Talbot, for 32 years. Our son, Travis, 30, is a lawyer in New York City. I also have three older stepchildren and seven step-grandchildren. We are one big happy blended family!


The Professional Development Committee continues its ongoing series featuring TOCA Gardner award winners.

Gardner Award Winner Q&A: Annee Cook, Grand View Media

Turf & Turf Design Build Media Kit

By Sara Bojar, Bader Rutter, Professional Development Committee

Please briefly describe your winning project.

We wanted to evolve the standard print media kit beyond a flat PDF and make it a fully-Turf Media Kit 1interactive guide. Easily navigated, these media kit sites also act as “Sales Presentations in a Pocket,” as reps can instantly display a native email program in a pitch, or click-and-share pages and PDF links via email or text from a trade show floor. To the media buyer surfing the site, it provides quick specs and other pertinent information.

What were your main objectives in developing this project? We wanted to improve how digital opportunities are presented to our advertising partners. The ubiquitous one-sheet is a staple of selling, but fails miserably when marketing the digital advertising options of media today.

Design benefits include:

  • Instant access to brands and the full portfolio
  • Real-time, current information
  • Responsive, mobile use
  • Printable sheets and interactive examples
  • Immediate rate access
  • Ability to use video
  • Digital programs and high-impact ad units show interactively
  • Dynamic content on calendars are keyword-searchable

What influenced your approach?

Standing out in the field. We’re growing rapidly and introducing many new products and opportunities for our audiences and advertisers. With all of these features, we wanted to keep the selling process simple and fresh for the many customized and creative client requests.

Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.

Our media industry is ever-changing with dynamic content delivery and (seemingly) daily digital innovations. However, industry standards for media kits and sales tools have lagged in keeping pace. The Grand View Media marketing team took the printed media kit and shook it up — for a fully interactive, customer-focused experience.

http://grandviewmedia.com/turf/

Turf Media Kit 2


 

Gardner Award Winner Q&A: “LM Social Media Strategy”
Marisa Palmieri, Dillon Stewart, Allison Barwacz
Landscape Management, North Coast Media

By Debbie Clayton, Clayton Communications, Professional Development Committee

Please briefly describe your winning project/What were your main objectives in developing this project?

The Landscape Management social media strategy is to drive readers to our website and express our brand's personality (energizing, down-to-earth and hands-on). We accomplished both in 2015 and attribute growth in key web metrics to our efforts on social media.

These included a 20.3% increase in total page views in 2015 over 2014 and a two-year change of 96.1%.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

After creating our strategy, we knew it would come down to execution. It's easy to put plans in place and let them fall by the wayside while we focus on our traditional "day jobs" (putting out a monthly print magazine, posting news to the website daily and producing a weekly newsletter, among other things).

By making a plan and splitting up the duties among staff members, it made the daunting task of keeping up with multiple social channels more doable. The real credit goes to our Associate Editor Dillon Stewart and Digital Content Producer Allison Barwacz (now Kelly Limpert) for handling the bulk of this work day in and day out.

What influenced your approach?

As social media is ever-changing, we strive to stick to our strategy but tweak our approach as we go. We look at what leading news outlets do and also at what seems to be getting results for us, as measured by engagement on various channels.

Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.

Our results—specifically, nearly doubling our page views from 2013-2015. Our organic follower growth on Facebook (16%), Twitter (27%), LinkedIn (36%) and Instagram (258%) from 2015-2016 validated our approach, as did the recognition we received from organizations outside the green industry. We also earned a Silver Regional Award in the 2016 ASBPE (American Society of Business Press Editors) Awards of Excellence and an Honorable Mention in the B-to-B Overall Use of Social Media category in the national Folio: Eddie Awards.

Some of the North Coast Media team at the 2016 TOCA awards dinner in Omaha (from left): Grant Gannon, Bill Roddy, Marisa Palmieri, Craig MacGregor and Jake Goodman.

Some of the North Coast Media team at the 2016 TOCA awards dinner in Omaha (from left): Grant Gannon, Bill Roddy, Marisa Palmieri, Craig MacGregor and Jake Goodman.


Gardner Award Winner Q&A: Safer Hydro Print Ad Design Award

by Dawn Rigby, Advanced Turf Solutions, Professional Development Committee

Joseph Rogge, CCO at EPIC Creative, answered a few questions about EPIC Creative’s Gardner Award for Design - Marketing Communications for “Safer Hydro Print Ad”.

Please briefly describe your winning project.

The project was advertising creative that introduced the Safer Brand's positioning and brand voice to the Hydroponic growers market. This creative drove the overall campaign's tactical executions including regional media placements, point-of-sale displays, and direct mail activities.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?Safer Hydro Print Ad

Our goal was to position Safer Brand's nutrient product line as the safest, most plant beneficial organic nutrients available in the organic hydroponic space. The headline "What you put in your plants, you put in your body" communicates the message that using naturally sourced and processed organic materials results in healthier plants and more bountiful harvests, without the potentially dangerous chemicals found in tradition fertilizers.

What influenced your approach?

In researching the competitive landscape in the hydroponic market, we learned that the safety message would be unique. As the hydroponic space has grown, and larger more mainstream brands like Scotts are entering the market, we saw that organics had gained market share but efficacy and safety were topics we could use to position Safer Brand. We felt that presenting beautiful "results" in a highly stylized hydro environment would illustrate the message that Safer Brand's nutrients will help the grower be successful. The headline was intended to own safety, confidently. The fact that safe is in the brand’s name helps us knit the messaging and visuals together nicely.

Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.

The beautiful, symmetrical plant image, supported by the stylized treatment of water and soil, with a powerful color palette is confident and engaging. Certainly, the narrative is important, but the power of this creative is that the dynamic, bold presentation of growing "results" and the visual connection to the Safer products tells the story visually, compelling the audience to want more.


Former TOCA Member Hal Dickey from PBI-Gordon Dies380335_Hal Dickey for from FB profile

Long-time TOCA member, formerly from PBI-Gordon, Hal Dickey recently died at the age of 88. Hal was one of the original members of TOCA back in the early 1990s. He was, as PBI-Gordon’s Doug Obermann says: “He was a wonderful story teller of life events and one great dancer in his time.”

Hal was an annual attendee of TOCA’s May meetings. He was immensely proud of his membership in AA (and was always proud to note he was alcohol-free for 52 years).

Hal Dickey, green pants, on the tour at Microsoft in Seattle

“Hal is now dancing in heaven AND driving his car with CHA-CHA plates,” says Doug. Doug adds that Hal did many wonderful things for PBI-Gordon. Those of us who knew Hal during is TOCA days can say the same.

We will miss Hal.

 

 


TOCA Seeks to Award Annual Scholarship

The TOCA Foundation awards one scholarship to a deserving student currently pursuing a career in green industry communications. Do you someone who fits the bill?  Let them know that there is $2,500 in scholarship money available to them.

The TOCA Board of Directors will award one $2,500, fall semester scholarship (2017-2018 academic-year) to an undergraduate college student pursuing a career in green industry communications. To qualify, students must major or minor in technical communications or a green industry related field such as horticulture, plant sciences, botany, agronomy, plant pathology, etc. The applicant also must demonstrate an interest in using this course of study in the field of communications.

More than $47,000 in scholarships have been awarded since it’s inception in 1992.

The Publishers’ Scholarship is generously supported by Golf Course Management, Total Landscape Care, GIE Media, Grandview Media, North Coast Media, Southcomm Media, Arbor Age, OPEI, Landscape and Irrigation, SportsTurf magazines and TurfNet.com.

Applications are due on March 1.  Click here for the application.


Plant Health Writer of the Year Nominations due March 1

The Plant Health Writer of the Year has been honoring TOCA-member writers for four years.  The program is provided annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including new media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

These types of writing are examples of what qualifies for entry in this award program:

Jose Milan of Bayer, presents Larry Aylward with the Plant Health Writer of the Year Award.

Jose Milan of Bayer, presents Larry Aylward with the Plant Health Writer of the Year Award.

•             Plant-specific articles related to the health of the plant.

•             Water issues and its effect on turf, shrubs, flowers, etc., regarding green spaces.

•             Fertilization/nutrient management innovations and its effect on green spaces.

•             Pesticide innovations and its effect on green spaces.

•             Mowing technologies and how new methods affect plant health.

•             Growth regulators and the effect these technologies have on plant health.

Winners receive a $1000 stipend to be used toward professional development or to attend the annual TOCA meeting.

To apply or nominate a writer, click here.  Deadline for applications is March 1.


Environmental Communicator of the Year Nominations due March 1

Dr David Shetlar ECotY Cindy Code Project Evergreen (3)

Cindy Code, Executive Director of Project EverGreen, with Dr. David Shetlar.

The TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award may be given to anyone in the green industry in recognition of outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular industry audience.

Sponsored annually by Project EverGreen and now in its 19th year, the Environtmental Communicator of the Year award has been presented at TOCA’s annual meeting.

David Shetlar “The BugDoc“, Ph.D., entomology professor at the Ohio State University,
was recognized as the 2016 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year recipient.

To nominate a deserving candidate, click here.


The 2017 TOCA Communications Contest Update

By Kristy Mach

Have you spent time reflecting on your wonderful communications strategies and tactics 2017 Deadlinein 2016?  Direct those thoughts toward the 2017 TOCA Communications Contest.

Entries will open mid-January, with a deadline of March 15.  Any work done fully or partially in 2016 is eligible for the 2017 contest.  TOCA is again using the BetterBNC online awards platform.

Also make plans to attend the awards banquet at the annual meeting in Tampa, Florida.  The awards banquet will take place Thursday, May 4.

Stay tuned for the announcement call for entries!

Any questions, please contact Kristy Mach at kristymach@gandgcomm.com or 952-758-6340.



TOCA and Ewing Host Successful Fireside Chat at the Irrigation Show

TOCA hosted the first Fireside Chat, sponsored by Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply,20161207_141435 at the Irrigation Show on December 7, 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  More than 25 TOCA members and green industry communicators gathered to hear Cliff Woodbury ask "Is Anyone Listening?"

Woodbury is the senior vice president of culture and engagement at Ewing, and discussed ways in which communicators can strengthen and better business-to-business communication within their companies and industry by listening.

TOCA hopes to build upon the success of this event at future Irrigation Shows.


Let’s be Safe Out There

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Cold weather running is certainly a challenge for those of us who live in states north of the Mendoza Line (please Google if you are perplexed by this geographical line).  If you choose to run outdoors in the winter, there are numerous running publications that can help you “survive” the cold.  But to save you hours of  inquiry - here are some tips.

  1. Use shoes that have the least amount of mesh. Wear socks that keep wetness away, but keep your feet warm.
  2. Wear gloves and stocking cap. Minnesota Running Hall of Fame member Gerry Smith says: “ Dress comfortably, including wearing layers and see what feels comfortable for you.  Many running gurus suggest that when the temp dips below zero, run indoors. “
  3. Wear reflective clothing as piles of snow can make it harder for others to see you. If running in early morning or after sunset, carry and use a flashlight!
  4. If it is a windy day, start your run into the wind so the wind doesn’t chill you after you have broken a sweat.
  5. Winter running is more about maintenance than speed. Your speed workouts can be saved for spring.

ENJOY your running regimen and be safe out there.  And let me finish with the words of my former neighbor (and experienced runner):  “Before you criticize someone, you should run a mile in their shoes.  That way, when you do criticize them – you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.”  Ponder that one for a while.

Finally, be thinking while you run about all the ways to make TOCA the best membership association it can be and how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

Anyone who responds positively to the editors regarding this issue’s running article will be rewarded famously at the next TOCA Annual Meeting.  See you in Tampa.

Don't wind up on your backside, like Den, shown here.

Don't wind up on your backside, like Den, shown here.

 

 

 

A Fond Farewell

By Barb Ulschmid

To my TOCA family,

After a wonderful 9+ years with Gardner & Gardner Communications I’ve made the tough decision to pursue a new chapter in life and accepted a FT project assistant/event planning position elsewhere.  TOCA Staff

I would like to sincerely thank each of you for the honor of being a part of this amazing group! Every experience shared, friendship made, opportunity offered and good times had during this time will never be forgotten. I will miss you!

I don’t like good byes, so for now I will say I hope our paths cross again someday. My new email address is barbulschmid@gmail.com.

Take Care!
Barb

Barb Ulschmid Departing G&G After 9+ Years

 By G&G Staff

It’s with great excitement for Barb Ulschmid and selfish sadness among G&G staff that we announce Barb’s last day with G&G on Sept. 23. After more than nine years of wonderful service with us, Barb is moving on to a new position that will afford her even more opportunities to enhance her many skills.Barb_Oct12

We are immensely proud of her time with G&G, and the tremendous growth she’s had since she first came to us in the summer of 2007. Her meeting planning and office manager role within G&G has been invaluable to us.

But most of all we will miss her friendship, her warm heart, her family (who helped us a lot with projects over the years – everything from putting plates on trophies to mowing the lawn), her can-do-it attitude, going the extra mile for annual meetings and always knowing that our members came first in all she did.

It goes without saying that she truly contributed to G&G’s success every day of our more than nine years together, which is almost half of the time that G&G has been in existence.

Working in association management means constantly meeting deadlines, finding ways to lessen stress one week (or more) before an annual meeting, making sure just the right food is ordered for just the right group, nudging volunteer members when deadlines were missed and so much more. Barb did this all with enthusiasm, subtlety, patience and humor. In this business, ALL those attributes are necessary.TOCA Staff Kristy Mach Barb Ulschmid Den Gardner Dan Gardner

Barb, your contributions the past nine years will help keep us on the right track here at G&G in the future. We thank you. We will miss you. Best of luck (although you won’t need luck – you have talent) in your new position and we hope it brings you all the same joy you brought to us all these years.

 

 

Hundreds in Cash Prizes for You as a TOCA Member!

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

Do we have your attention? The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is embarking on a brand new, first-ever membership program that will give you hard cash, bread, bucks, currency, dough, legal tender, greenbacks. Call it what you like. But the bottom line is simple:

Recruit members to TOCA and you personally will receive cash – hundreds of dollars!

Although at the deadline for TOCA Talk the details are still a little sketchy, we thought we’d whet your appetite and provide information briefly on:

The TOCA Simple Membership Rewards Program.

It’s so simple, all you have to do is recruit members to TOCA and win cash – up to hundreds of dollars. Really!

Details will be unveiled at GIE+EXPO in Louisville next month. But suffice it to say, depending on how many NEW members you want to recruit, the five members with the most recruited members will win between $100 and $300. How simple is that?

And a bonus will be provided of $25 for any member who recruits new members beyond five. So even if you’re not in the top five finishers, if you recruit more than five members, you get $25 for each recruited member beyond five. So, recruit 10 members and receive $25 for members six through 10 that you recruited – or $125.

Seems easy to me. And what’s a NEW member? Simply (are you catching a theme here), someone who wasn’t a TOCA member in 2016. All you have to do to be eligible to win in this contest is be a member in good-standing of TOCA for 2017.

Look for more information by email in the near future. Or, simply contact our TOCA membership director Kyle Wieskus at:  kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com and ask her about the contest details.  We’ll be keeping a tally of your recruits.

The contest will run from Nov. 1, 2016, through April 30, 2017. The winners will be announced at the 2017 annual meeting in early May in Tampa, FL.

Our Bigger Plans

This recruitment contest is part of a comprehensive marketing communications plan being put together by the TOCA Membership Committee. Other tactics on this effort will include, but not be limited to:

  1. Video testimonials by members for the web site (watch out – we may be asking you to help us with this).
  2. A comprehensive segmentation recruitment list that will be developed and implemented quarterly by the TOCA Membership Target Team. If you want to be on this team, please let us know.
  3. A printed recruitment piece to be available on the web site and passed out at industry trade shows and other green industry gatherings where communications professionals are in attendance.
  4. More social media efforts to encourage prospects to join TOCA.
  5. The creation of a millennial sub-committee to specifically target this crucial group to the ongoing growth of TOCA and how the organization can assist this group in professional development.
  6. New refinements in our newsletter TOCA Talk, with the publication being sent to prospects on a limited basis.

You are part of a great organization that’s almost three decades old. Help yourself and new prospects find out what makes TOCA so great. It’s volunteers like you that keep our national association vibrant and robust. Thanks in advance and let’s all do our part to grow our association!

Thanks to membership chairs Andrew Gillman and Russ Warner for their leadership in this effort.

The U.S. Navy way back in 1960 (I was nine years old) coined the phrase: Keep it simple stupid (KISS). That’s what this contest will be. And you’ll be a big winner if you participate.

TOCA Intern Talks Ireland

By Nate McKinniss, TOCA 2016 Intern

 79e3756bc6fdc61f6a52817c690d2a7d-

(Editor’s Note: Nate McKinniss of the Ohio State University was the TOCA intern in 2016. This was a partnership for the TOCA internship on a one-time trial basis with TurfNet. Following are Nate’s impressions of his summer. The TOCA Foundation provides a $3,000 stipend each year in a program underwritten by Bayer.)

A new partnership between TurfNet and TOCA created the opportunity for me to spend the summer of 2016 as an intern on the greenkeeping staff at County Louth Golf Club in Baltray, Ireland. This once-in-a-lifetime experience was one of differing perspectives and cultures, both on the golf course and in “real life.”

Upon landing in Ireland I began noticing so many differences between that country and the world as I knew it in Ohio. Now, in retrospect, I also realize how much was the same.6f4c00ef43af244fba84744a118c7cc4-

This summer I learned that two key skills are similar throughout any operation around the world: communication and interpersonal skills. I saw first-hand how critical good communication is for a golf course superintendent (or greenkeeper or course manager, as the position is known over there). Beyond issuing daily marching orders for the greens crew, the superintendent must keep club management and members apprised of course conditions and concerns either in bulletin letters or committee meetings.

My goal is to become a head greenkeeper one day. What TurfNet and TOCA gave me was a first step to developing my communication skills for the future. During my internship I chronicled my work with regular posts on a blog of my own on TurfNet.com. I drafted, edited my copy, chose supporting photos and captions and otherwise honed these skills much earlier than other students in my program at Ohio State.888719c6c8c234da8cb45003cae44c8e-

While my blog posts did not resemble a superintendent’s newsletter or other communication about the golf course, my frequent updates on my activities and adventures kept everyone back home informed on what I was doing. The process taught me that documenting experiences with other people was just as valuable as noting information I learned about the golf course.

With each new blog post I needed to ask myself whether this information is what people want to read. This dug deeper into the art of communication, taking into account the readers’ interests along with what the writer wanted them to know and understand. I found it best to be brief and supplement the text with many pictures; I know because I love scrolling photos myself.

Outside of the golf course my time was typically spent interacting with clubhouse d680818c1686e91cbdb6a7441dbd38f2-employees, members, guests and new friends in those local communities. The Irish are extremely friendly and communicating with them was easy, for which I am thankful. Since the turf itself is a small fraction of what else a golf course superintendent has to manage, this internship helped me with those equally important skills necessary to be a successful golf course superintendent.

I am extremely grateful for the experience I had, and took pride in representing my sponsors. TOCA (through the foundation and the support of Bayer), TurfNet, Jacobsen (the sponsor of the blog) and the Ohio State University were always in mind because without them I would not have this experience.

I hope this program continues, and that the next student gains as much from their summer 0b8af58194160975dac183a3f9d626b8-internship as I did. My advice to them is simply to enjoy your time! Don’t worry about which path to take next, just make sure that the path chosen is one taking you to your goal.

Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour

By Jill Odom, Total Landscape Care

Stacie Zinn Roberts, of What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations, won a 2016 Stacie_Zinn_Printable-1Gardner Award — Special Projects for her "Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour." See what influenced her approach.

Please briefly describe your winning project.

The “Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour” was one of the premier events held during the GCSAA’s 2015 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. Sponsored and presented by our client, Team Zoysia, more than 250 people from more than 20 states and 20 countries attended. The event was held the Monday of the conference. In the morning, buses brought attendees to Bladerunner Farms, the world's largest independent zoysiagrass breeding facility. Attendees rotated through a half-dozen stations where they heard presentations from and asked questions of some of the world's leading researchers on zoysiagrass for golf. In the afternoon, the buses took the group to the Golf Club of Texas where attendees toured the nation's first 100% zoysiagrass golf course to see the grass first-hand in a golf setting. Inside the clubhouse, there were multiple presentations from golf architects and superintendents.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour 1_Stacie Zinn Roberts_Page_1

We wanted to present concrete reasons why zoysia is changing the game of golf, emphasizing the sustainability and playability of the grass. We worked alongside the GCSAA staff to coordinate the event and make it a legitimate part of the educational offerings at GIS.

We also wanted to highlight how the biggest projects in golf — the Olympic Golf Course built for the Games in Rio, Tiger Woods’ first U.S. golf course, and the new home of the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament — added credibility to our claim of zoysia’s burgeoning importance to the game.

What influenced your approach?

Our approach was strongly influenced by the GCSAA’s need for the event to be non-commercial, yet tell our client’s story. This balance is what shaped how we created messaging and content, selected speakers who presented, even how we structured the scheduling of the day, to create an event of value.Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour 2_Stacie Zinn Roberts_Page_1

Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.

I think the overall scope of the event was what made the entry stand out. The first stage of promoting the event came in the January issue of Golf Course Management, where we authored a major feature story on zoysia grass in golf, and invited readers to attend the event in San Antonio the following month. We wrote a press release that went out to all industry media that resulted in coverage beforehand in all of the major industry trades, plus we had coverage the day-of and following from a half-dozen media who attended the event based on our invitation. GCSAA-TV covered the event. They created a 5-minute video that streamed online during GIS and that still lives on their website. In addition, Team Zoysia's three core founding members were also interviewed live on GCSAA-TV's stage during the show.

The “Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour” was so overwhelmingly successful that the GCSAA asked us if we would repeat the process again in 2018 when GIS returns to San Antonio.

A Place to Breathe

AWARD WINNER Q&As

The Professional Development Committee continues its ongoing series featuring TOCA Gardner award winners.

A Place to Breathe

By Debbie Clayton, Clayton Communications

Brian Horn, managing editor at Lawn & Landscape, won a 2016 Gardner Writing Award for his story "A Place to Breathe."

 

Please briefly describe your winning project.

George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro, CA, is the first hospice for kids in the A place to breatheUnited States. Every child has what would be considered a life-limiting illness, some terminal. After hearing the non-profit would close due to lack of funds, the owner of Serpico Landscaping offered to have her company take care of the landscaping free of charge. The story focuses on how the landscaping helps calm the families staying there and how much Serpico employees take pride in caring for the grounds.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

I wanted to get the landscaping company’s perspective on what it’s like working at a location where grieving families use the gardens on the grounds to gather themselves. I also wanted to drive home how important the landscaping on the grounds was as part of the healing process for families going through a difficult time. I wish I could have spoken with a family who had a family member at GMCH, but that wasn’t possible.  GM 2

What influenced your approach?

I didn’t want to focus too much on the sick child angle, but it was hard to ignore. So I just let the people involved tell their story. The head of GMCH was very appreciative of the work, and Serpico’s owner was genuine about why they are involved, so it was pretty easy to get a feel for their enthusiasm.

Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.

Sick children is a depressing topic, but the slight relief that landscaping provided families gave the story an uplifting feel. The quotes were good and illustrated the emotions GM 1everyone had around the project. I also interviewed a crew member who said they were once asked not to work in an area. When he looked over a few minutes later, he saw a family grieving. Someone from the family came over and relayed how appreciative they were that the crew didn’t work in the area. The family member also complimented the landscape and how the family used the gardens for reflection. I thought that really brought the story together.

Read the story here.

TOCA and Bayer Offer New Member Breakfast Reception at GIE + EXPO

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is again providing a breakfast reception at the GIE + EXPO in Louisville, KY.

Bayer sponsors the breakfast, with the room provided courtesy of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

For Whom: TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Friday, October 21, 2016

Where:  Kentucky Exposition Center, Room C112

Time:  7:15 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. – Breakfast

7:45 a.m. - 8 a.m. - TOCA Update

8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Bayer Media Conference

We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast. Whether or not you plan to attend, please RSVP.  Any questions, call  952-758-6340 or email to toca@gandgcomm.com.  Thank you – see you in Louisville! 

Fall Running Tips

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Summer has passed and we are now in the fall season.  Some would argue this is the greatest time of year to be running.  Beautiful colored leaves, temps better and the World Series is upon us.  Does it get any better than this?

Runners-Walkers-Crew

Special Running Correspondent, Dan Gardner, pictured at left.

It will come as no surprise to anyone when I state that vigorous exercise yields a plethora of health blessings.  That can also be said of measured or mild exercise.  The American College of Sports Medicine Position Statement on Exercise tells us – through numerous studies - that individuals who ran more than 50 miles per week had greater increases in HDL cholesterol (the good fat).  Long distance runners had nearly a 50% reduction in high blood pressure.

Well, 50 miles per week may be a lot, but getting outside and enjoying green spaces, fresh air and the like is just the right remedy for what TOCA members need. Even five miles a week is a start to some great living and great health!

As one grows older, many running experts would suggest that you switch your exercise regimen to biking or swimming.  Both have positives to your overall health.   If the pounding of running is starting to take a toll on your body, by all means visit with your doctor about other methods to keep fit.  Walking is another alternative.

As Shannon James said, exploring the connection between body and mind, “You can improve your mind-body fitness-it’s just important to choose realistic fitness options.”  Reducing your overall stress level (and feeling good about yourself) has always been the major motivation for my own fitness program.  We should all strive for stress reduction.  Choosing the proper type of fitness plan, combined with healthy diet, will help you feel better totally.

Feel free to contact me – Dan Gardner at twin1gard@aol.com - your TOCA Running Editor.  I have a multitude of ideas and I’m free.

Finally - to help make TOCA the best membership association it can be - keep that brain working as you get very much needed exercise and formulate how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best association it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

 

TOCA Membership Renewal for 2017

By TOCA Staff

TOCA will be emailing the 2017 Membership Renewal forms soon.   The value of being a TOCA member and the benefits you receive are many. Professional development and networking are at the top of the list. You are an important part of the organization and TOCA is embarking on a marketing plan for membership that intends to show you the many key reasons why it’s important for you to renew your membership. Look for many efforts from your TOCA members in the next several months about membership value.

Networking lunch.

Networking lunch.

These efforts are being led by Andrew Gillman of Performance Marketing, Fuzz Martin of EPIC Creative and board member Russ Warner of GIE Media. They would love to hear from you regarding expanding the value TOCA brings to its members and our membership.

And you can also help us reach our membership goal, help TOCA grow and also have the opportunity to win some cash prizes with the TOCA Simple Membership Rewards Program. Recruit members to TOCA and you personally will receive cash!  How simple is that? Look for more details to be coming soon at the GIE+EXPO in Louisville next month.

In the meantime, if you find value in TOCA, we’d like you to renew all of your members and maybe even increase your individuals within your company or organization.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It’s only $140 per year for the first member and $90 for the second and subsequent members. Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of membership.

Fun for all!

Fun for all!

Please note that we add an optional tax-deductible $15 contribution to membership dues for the TOCA Foundation.  If you prefer not to contribute, please notify the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

If there is more than one TOCA member in your company, one person from the group will receive the membership email. He/she should pass the Membership Application form to the other members in the company who want to renew their membership.  Membership Applications can be found online at www.toca.org.  Please return a Membership Application for each renewing member with your payment so we can keep track of each renewal.

Any questions about your membership should be directed to membership director Kyle Wieskus. She can be reached at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com.

You may pay dues with a CHECK made payable to the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association.   Or you can pay ONLINE! 

To renew an existing membership, please log in to our members system by clicking on the line indicated.  After logging in, you will see all the members from your company –OR- your individual name.  You can update your contact information.  If you are renewing with others in your company, your Group # will be listed here.  And you can Renew Membership for 2017.

As noted earlier, dues for the first person from the company are $140.  Dues for each additional person from the same company are $90 each.  In this way your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.

We look forward to you renewing your membership.  Please don't hesitate to call the TOCA office with questions about your membership.

Applications Open for TOCA College Scholarship

By Staff

Applications are now available for the TOCA scholarship program to be awarded in early 2017. The scholarship is awarded for the 2017-2018 school year.

The 2016 scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Mara McGurl of the University of Georgia. She also attended the annual meeting in Omaha. TOCA annually awards one, $2,500 scholarship with an additional travel stipend to attend the annual meeting.Mara Mcgurl Scholarship UGA

“The committee (Cindy Code, Steve Trusty and Felicia Gillham) annually does a great job,” says Den Gardner, executive director. “The caliber of the students each year makes the decision tougher and tougher. We are thrilled to provide this monetary gift to a worthy student each year.”

TOCA staff reaches out to ACT college chapters for applications, as well as all two-and four-year schools that offer turf management programs.

Thanks to Golf Course Management, Total Landscape Care, GIE Media, Grand View Media, North Coast Media, TurfNet and EPG/Media & Specialty Information for supporting this program.

For more information about the scholarship please go online to the TOCA website.

TOCA Talk – Fall 2016

EnP-basic

The Fall 2016 issue of TOCA Talk is sponsored by EnP.

EnP has been Engineering Optimal Plant Health™ for nearly 30 years. We manufacture liquid and dry fertilizers under three brands: EnP Turf, Foliar-Pak, and Age Old Nutrients. We believe that collaboration and the exchange of ideas are essential for innovation, which is why are proud to support the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association.


 Where “Members Matter Most”

By Scott HollisterGCSAA 2014 Board and Staff Photos
TOCA Board Chair

Since its founding some 27 years ago, TOCA has accomplished some pretty special things. From the scholarships it has awarded and the professional development it has provided, to the relationships and connections it has fostered, this organization has contributed to the green industry in ways that should make all of us exceedingly proud.

But at our core, TOCA is a membership organization, and none of the important and lasting accomplishments that we have achieved over the years would be possible without you, TOCA’s members.

This is something that is rarely far from my mind as TOCA’s president. Maybe that’s because my “real job” is with another membership organization, GCSAA, where we’re reminded regularly about the importance of member growth, satisfaction and retention. The mantra “Members Matter Most” isn’t just a catch phrase at GCSAA; it’s something that drives our work on a daily basis.

I’m pleased to report that TOCA is taking a similar approach to its business, as evidenced by a pair of initiatives that you’ll be hearing about, not only in this issue of TOCA Talk, but also well into the future.

Many of us know and regularly connect with communicators in the green industry who, for one reason or another, are not current members of TOCA. They might not fully comprehend the benefits of membership, might be leery of a commitment to yet another cause or organization or they might simply have never been asked to join.

That’s where the first of these new initiatives comes in, one that aims to reward current members of TOCA with cold, hard cash for each new member they bring to the organization. Much more information about this effort will be forthcoming after its official launch at the upcoming GIE+EXPO conference in Louisville, Ky., in October, but the overall premise is simple — recruit five or more new members to TOCA and be eligible for a cash prize ranging from $25 all the way up to $300.

In recent years, TOCA’s membership rolls have swelled to their highest point in our organization’s history. But continued growth doesn’t happen on its own, which is why I’m pleased that Russ Warner, Andrew Gillman, Fuzz Martin and the rest of the membership committee have made this program and making sure that “Members Matter Most” such a priority.

Another area where TOCA is looking to spread that philosophy is overseas, among our international colleagues who work in the green industry. You’ve likely at least heard about our recent international efforts before now, but I can assure you that those efforts continue and we’re hopeful that 2017 will bring a new high-water mark to our work in the UK and Europe.

These efforts have experienced their fair share of fits and starts, to be sure, but I am IMG_1853 (3)confident that the foundation for this work remains solid. We have secured gracious financial support for our work internationally from our friends at Bayer and Jacobsen. We have a dedicated internal committee working to plot out the next logical steps in our efforts. And again in 2017, TOCA will take its message to the BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association) Turf Management Exposition in Harrogate, England, to further strengthen existing relationships, establish new ones and lay the groundwork for a possible stand-alone TOCA meeting in the UK later in 2017.

We have undertaken these overseas efforts not necessarily to grow our domestic membership as much as to create a sister organization that can serve our green industry colleagues in the UK and Europe the same way TOCA has served all of us here in the U.S., to create an organization dedicated to education, to scholarship and to giving those communicators a place where they know that members will most definitely matter most.

 


New Chapter for TOCA Meeting Site as Group Heads for Saddlebrook Resort/Tampa!

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

There have been 27 TOCA annual meetings in 27 different cities. The 28th annual meeting returns to Florida for only the second time – and first time since 1999 in Orlando. And the location in 2017 is the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, FL, our 28th city.Resort-Aerial

Mark these dates on your calendar: May 2-5, 2017.

Additionally, TOCA members will enjoy a first in Tampa in that we will be at a resort. But with golf, tennis, spas, restaurants and bars throughout the complex, members are in for a special treat this year.

After a very successful event in Omaha last year – more than 60+ attendees – the pressure is on to bring an event to Tampa that meets the expectations of its members from professional development to tours to award ceremonies and much more.

The theme of the meeting is still in development. TOCA thanks Bill Brown and his staff at Turf Republic/TR Digital Media  for taking on the two-year commitment of creating a theme for the annual get-together and staging/managing the award program. We will have more information for you at GIE+EXPO regarding the 2017 meeting.5-Chipping-on-18-Terrace

The meeting itself will take on a familiar look for members. There is the traditional board meeting on Tuesday, May 2, in the afternoon. The TOCA Foundation board meeting will also be conducted at this time. Members are always invited to the meeting. The evening will likely feature our optional informal gathering of members at one of the facilities at the resort.

Wednesday morning will be professional development, followed by the golf (on site) or the tour of some of the great horticultural areas of Tampa. Thursday presents more professional development throughout the day. The annual awards dinner and presentation of the best communications work of TOCA will conclude the activities in the evening.

Members may consider staying the weekend at one of the premier resorts in Florida, if not the country. The resort will welcome our members to the many amenities Saddlebrook has to offer.

The 2017 agenda will be more complete by the TOCA breakfast at GIE+EXPO in late October. Watch the TOCA web site: www.toca.org, for more information in the meantime.

See you in Tampa in 2017!


Barb Ulschmid Departing G&G After 9+ Years

By G&G Staff

 It’s with great excitement for Barb Ulschmid and selfish sadness among G&G staff that we announce Barb’s last day with G&G on Sept. 23. After more than nine years of wonderful service with us, Barb is moving on to a new position that will afford her even more opportunities to enhance her many skills.TOCA Staff

We are immensely proud of her time with G&G, and the tremendous growth she’s had since she first came to us in the summer of 2007. Her meeting planning and officer manager role with within G&G, was invaluable to us.

But most of all we will miss her friendship, her family (who helped us a lot with projects over the years – everything was putting plates on trophies to mowing the lawn), her can-do-it attitude, going the extra mile for annual meetings and always knowing that our members came first in all she did.

It goes without saying that she truly contributed to G&G’s success every day of our more than nine years together, which is almost half of the time that G&G has been in existence.

Working in association management means constantly meeting deadlines, finding ways to lessen stress one week (or more) before an annual meeting, making sure just the right food is ordered for just the right group, nudging volunteer members when deadlines were missed and so much more. Barb did this all with enthusiasm, subtlety, patience and humor. In this business, ALL those attributes are necessary.

Barb, your contributions the past nine years will help keep us on the right track here at G&G in the future. We thank you. We will miss you. Best of luck (although you won’t need luck – you have talent) in your new position and we hope it brings you all the same joy you brought to us all these years.


A Fond Farewell

By Barb Ulschmid

To my TOCA family,Barb_Oct12

After a wonderful 9+ years with Gardner & Gardner Communications I’ve made the tough decision to pursue a new chapter in life and accepted a FT project assistant/event planning position elsewhere.

I would like to sincerely thank each of you for the honor of being a part of this amazing group! Every experience shared, friendship made, opportunity offered and good times had during this time will never be forgotten. I will miss you!

I don’t like good byes, so for now I will say I hope our paths cross again someday. My new email address is barbulschmid@gmail.com.

Take Care!
Barb


Panel Discussion Focuses on Editor/PR Relationships

By Sara Bojar, Bader Rutter

At this year's TOCA annual meeting, a panel discussion addressed industry trends and provided insights to help with professional development. Two editors and two PR professionals met up on the final day to dissect the evolving relationship between the two Panel Matt Gersib Brian Horn Sara Bojar Gregg Wartgowprofessions. Brian Horn with Lawn & Landscape and Gregg Wartgow with Green Industry Pros represented the media, while Sara Bojar with Bader Rutter and Matt Gersib with MGPR spoke on behalf of the PR industry. It was a healthy conversation that generated a lot questions, comments and ideas.

Here are the some of the highlights we discussed:

  • Traditional PR has taken a backseat to new media. Sponsored content is the new norm. It’s about finding a balance that works for the publication, the writer and their client.
  • The news cycle is much shorter than it used to be, and the need for news is ongoing. PR professionals are encouraged to share content, but we need to make sure that it’s interesting, timely and relevant.
  • Both editors and their readers want quick bites of information —bullets, infographics, statistics. Basically, “tell me what I need to know and why I need to know it.”
  • New media forces all in green industry communications to know the reader/audience better, but it also allows for more customizable, targeted content.
  • Digital and social media allows for sharing news more quickly, and it gives us the opportunity to react to news much faster. However, pay attention to editorial calendars and material submission dates to ensure accurate communication.
  • Finally, we are all being challenged to do more with less. We need to continue to work together to ensure that we are communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Techniques for Excellent Writing

By Jennifer Klemmetson
Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

 Writing consultant, columnist and award-winning author Stephen Wilbers has written more than 950 columns on effective writing. During this year’s annual TOCA meeting, he shared his techniques and exercises to help improve our writing skills.Stephen Wilbers PhD

Five Elements of Effective Writing

Good writing is clear, concise and to the point. Use these five elements to keep your writing on track.

  1.  Focus on a clear, manageable central idea with subordinate ideas that support and reinforce that idea.
  2. 2. Organize the material to guide the reader from one idea to the next.
  3. Have supporting material — including explanations, examples, statistics and quotations — that clarifies and persuades.
  4. Use clear, specific language that the audience will be able to understand. Use a variety of sentence structure and length.
  5. Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctuation is correct — people will notice if it’s not.

Proofreading Checklist

Wilbers offered four quick checks for proofreading your own work or someone else’s work.

  1. Does it look right?
  2. Is it effective?
  3. Does it sound right?
  4. Is it correct?

The 3-Step Message

This easy, three-step message helps you draft a quick, concise email or other messages to communicate more effectively.

  1. Purpose: I am writing to you because …
  2. Background: The important points are …
  3. Proposed action: I propose that you …

Practice and Set Goals

To improve your writing, create a writing plan. Short term goals: What steps will you take in the next week to improve your writing? Long term goals: What steps will you take in the next month to improve your writing? Write down 2-3 steps for each, and continuously work to improve your writing skills.

Check out all of Wilbers’ tips, columns and quick reference guides on his website at www.wilbers.com.


Telling Your Story Through Infographics 

By Dawn Rigby, Advanced Turf Solutions

What better way to present the information from the panel discussion, “Telling Your Story Through Infographics,” than with an infographic.

Here is my attempt at creating an infographic, using the skills I learned at the 2016 TOCA annual meeting. This infographic illustrates the comparisons between the presentations by Jim Novak and Matt Strelecki during the panel discussion.

Telling-Your-Story-Through-Infographics (2)


Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University interned with TurfNet  

By Nate McKinniss

TOCA 2016 Intern

 (Editor’s Note: Nate McKinniss of the Ohio State University was the TOCA intern in 2016. This was a partnership for the TOCA internship on a one-time trial basis with TurfNet. Following are Nate’s impressions of his summer. The TOCA Foundation provides a $3,000 stipend each year in a program underwritten by Bayer.)888719c6c8c234da8cb45003cae44c8e-

A new partnership between TurfNet and TOCA created the opportunity for me to spend the summer of 2016 as an intern on the greenkeeping staff at County Louth Golf Club in Baltray, Ireland. This once-in-a-lifetime experience was one of differing perspectives and cultures, both on the golf course and in “real life.”

Upon landing in Ireland I began noticing so many differences between that country and the world as I knew it in Ohio. Now, in retrospect, I also realize how much was the same.

This summer I learned that two key skills are similar throughout any operation around the world: communication and interpersonal skills. I saw first-hand how critical good communication is for a golf course superintendent (or greenkeeper or course manager, as the position is known over there). Beyond issuing daily marching orders for the greens crew, the superintendent must keep club management and members apprised of course conditions and concerns either in bulletin letters or committee meetings.

My goal is to become a head greenkeeper one day. What TurfNet and TOCA gave me was a first step to developing my communication skills for the future. During my internship I chronicled my work with regular posts on a blog of my own on TurfNet.com. I drafted, edited my copy, chose supporting photos and captions and otherwise honed these skills much earlier than other students in my program at Ohio State.d680818c1686e91cbdb6a7441dbd38f2-

While my blog posts did not resemble a superintendent’s newsletter or other communication about the golf course, my frequent updates on my activities and adventures kept everyone back home informed on what I was doing. The process taught me that documenting experiences with other people was just as valuable as noting information I learned about the golf course.

With each new blog post I needed to ask myself whether this information is what people want to read. This dug deeper into the art of communication, taking into account the readers’ interests along with what the writer wanted them to know and understand. I found it best to be brief and supplement the text with many pictures; I know because I love scrolling photos myself.

Outside of the golf course my time was typically spent interacting with clubhouse employees, members, guests and new friends in those local communities. The Irish are extremely friendly and communicating with them was easy, for which I am thankful. Since the turf itself is a small fraction of what else a golf course superintendent has to manage, this internship helped me with those equally important skills necessary to be a successful golf course superintendent.

I am extremely grateful for the experience I had, and took pride in representing my sponsors. TOCA (through the foundation and the support of Bayer), TurfNet, Jacobsen (the sponsor of the blog) and the Ohio State University were always in mind because without them I would not have this experience.0b8af58194160975dac183a3f9d626b8-

I hope this program continues, and that the next student gains as much from their summer internship as I did. My advice to them is simply to enjoy your time! Don’t worry about which path to take next, just make sure that the path chosen is one taking you to your goal.

 

 

 


What the BugDoc Said about Biodiversity

By Britney Riggs, Advanced Turf Solutions

The 2016 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year, David J. Shetlar, Ph.D., aka the “BugDoc," told TOCA members at the annual TOCA meeting in Omaha that urban biodiversity is real and resilient.

Dr David Shetlar ECotY Cindy Code Project Evergreen (3)

Dr. David Shetlar receives the TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year award from Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen.

Dr. Shetlar said many studies completed on biodiversity are “non-target” insecticide studies. Studies conducted in Ohio and New York on the abundance of arthropods showed mites to be the most abundant. He said some entomologist studies on urban diversity use different turfgrass habitats and management but newer studies are looking at reclaimed lands.

The BugDoc continued by explaining native plants are better than non-native plants and gave his opinions on the common misconceptions of pesticides. He believes the older, simpler ways of life are not necessarily better than today’s, and natural and organic products and materials are not necessarily safer than synthetic. There can be real risks in banning pesticides.

A Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology at The Ohio State University, Dr. Shetlar performs outreach on turf and ornamental entomology, teaches general entomology and concentrates on turfgrass entomology research. He produces the popular P.E.S.T. Newsletter in association with the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. In 2005, he was one of the recipients of an Annual Leadership Award presented by Lawn &  Landscape and Bayer, and he received the Educator & Public Service Award from ONLA in 2010. He has coauthored several books on turfgrass insects and has a long list of research and outreach publications.

The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, is given annually to an active green industry member for outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular audience within the turf and ornamental industry.

The recipient will be recognized at the annual TOCA meeting, held this year in Wesley Chapel, FL, May 2-4, 2017. A $500 cash stipend is presented to the winner.

APPLICATIONS can be found at the link provided and must be emailed or postmarked by March 1, 2017.  The recipient will be notified in March 2017.  For more information, contact Kristy Mach at kristymach@gandgcomm.com or 952-758-6340.


AWARD WINNER Q&As

The Professional Development Committee continues its ongoing series featuring TOCA Gardner award winners.

A Place to Breathe

By Debbie Clayton, Clayton Communications

Brian Horn, managing editor at Lawn & Landscape, won a 2016 Gardner Writing Award for his story "A Place to Breathe." A place to breathe

Please briefly describe your winning project.

George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro, CA, is the first hospice for kids in the United States. Every child has what would be considered a life-limiting illness, some terminal. After hearing the non-profit would close due to lack of funds, the owner of Serpico Landscaping offered to have her company take care of the landscaping free of charge. The story focuses on how the landscaping helps calm the families staying there and how much Serpico employees take pride in caring for the grounds.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

I wanted to get the landscaping company’s perspective on what it’s like working at a location where grieving families use the gardens on the grounds to gather themselves. I also wanted to drive home how important the landscaping on the grounds was as part of the healing process for families going through a difficult time. I wish I could have spoken with a family who had a family member at GMCH, but that wasn’t possible.  GM 1

What influenced your approach?

I didn’t want to focus too much on the sick child angle, but it was hard to ignore. So I just let the people involved tell their story. The head of GMCH was very appreciative of the work, and Serpico’s owner was genuine about why they are involved, so it was pretty easy to get a feel for their enthusiasm.

Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.

Sick children is a depressing topic, but the slight relief that landscaping provided families gave the story an uplifting feel. The quotes were good and illustrated the emotions everyone had around the project. I also interviewed a crew member who said they were once asked not to work in an area. When he looked over a few minutes later, he saw a family grieving. Someone from the family came over and relayed how appreciative they were that the crew didn’t work in the area. The family member also complimented the landscape and how the family used the gardens for reflection. I thought that really brought the story together.


Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour

By Jill Odom, Total Landscape Care

 Stacie Zinn Roberts, of What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations, won a 2016 Gardner Award — Special Projects for her "Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour." See what influenced her approach.Stacie_Zinn_Printable-1

 Please briefly describe your winning project.

The “Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour” was one of the premier events held during the GCSAA’s 2015 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. Sponsored and presented by our client, Team Zoysia, more than 250 people from more than 20 states and 20 countries attended. The event was held the Monday of the conference. In the morning, buses brought attendees to Bladerunner Farms, the world's largest independent zoysiagrass breeding facility. Attendees rotated through a half-dozen stations where they heard presentations from and asked questions of some of the world's leading researchers on zoysiagrass for golf. In the afternoon, the buses took the group to the Golf Club of Texas where attendees toured the nation's first 100% zoysiagrass golf course to see the grass first-hand in a golf setting. Inside the clubhouse, there were multiple presentations from golf architects and superintendents.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour 2_Stacie Zinn Roberts_Page_1

We wanted to present concrete reasons why zoysia is changing the game of golf, emphasizing the sustainability and playability of the grass. We worked alongside the GCSAA staff to coordinate the event and make it a legitimate part of the educational offerings at GIS.

We also wanted to highlight how the biggest projects in golf — the Olympic Golf Course built for the Games in Rio, Tiger Woods’ first U.S. golf course, and the new home of the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament — added credibility to our claim of zoysia’s burgeoning importance to the game.

What influenced your approach?

Our approach was strongly influenced by the GCSAA’s need for the event to be non-commercial, yet tell our client’s story. This balance is what shaped how we created messaging and content, selected speakers who presented, even how we structured the scheduling of the day, to create an event of value.

Please tell us what you think stood out in your winning entry.Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour 1_Stacie Zinn Roberts_Page_1

I think the overall scope of the event was what made the entry stand out. The first stage of promoting the event came in the January issue of Golf Course Management, where we authored a major feature story on zoysia grass in golf, and invited readers to attend the event in San Antonio the following month. We wrote a press release that went out to all industry media that resulted in coverage beforehand in all of the major industry trades, plus we had coverage the day-of and following from a half-dozen media who attended the event based on our invitation. GCSAA-TV covered the event. They created a 5-minute video that streamed online during GIS and that still lives on their website. In addition, Team Zoysia's three core founding members were also interviewed live on GCSAA-TV's stage during the show.

The “Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour” was so overwhelmingly successful that the GCSAA asked us if we would repeat the process again in 2018 when GIS returns to San Antonio.

 


 

TOCA Reviewing Host Media Company Rules for 2017                                             

By Staff

The fourth year internship was a great success during the summer of 2016 as Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University interned with TurfNet in a collaborative program with the company in Ireland.

In a departure from how the internship program has previously been selected the past three years, the TOCA Foundation board determined to do a test in 2016 and use the intern selected by TurfNet.

The internship program is sponsored by Bayer. Nate studied turf and blogged weekly during his internship in Ireland. TurfNet worked with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (GCSAI) in this program.

In the three previous years of the program, North Coast Media hosted the intern twice and Randall Reilly (through Total Landscape Care) once.

The board will determine the direction of 2017 at its fall meeting in Louisville.

If your publishing company, or association or company that has needs for a summer intern to write articles for magazines, newsletters, online copy or similar assignments, please let the TOCA staff know by contacting Kristy Mach at kristymach@gandgcomm.com.

The internship is meant to be educational and informative for both the intern and the host organization.  The internship also includes a travel stipend to attend the TOCA Annual Meeting. Thanks in advance for your interest in the great program for students.


TOCA Seeks New Applications for Hall of Fame

By Staff

Den Gardner, TOCA Executive Director, Hall of Fame inductee Ron Hall, Nicole Wisniewski, editor-in-chief of Turf and Turf Design Build magazines.

The TOCA Hall of Fame inducted Ron Hall at the 27th annual meeting in Omaha in May. Previous year’s recipients include: Jose Milan, Steve Trusty, Cindy Code, Pat Jones and Jerry Roche.

The organization at that time also grandfathered four previous inductees from its

Distinguished Service Award program – Margaret Bell, Den Gardner, Owen Towne and Bob Tracinski – into the Hall of Fame as well.

The TOCA Hall of Fame will now induct members each year into the Hall of Fame. For an application form for 2017 (to be inducted in May 2017 in Florida) please go to TOCA’s website. For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.


Year Five Finds Changes in Plant Health Writer of the Year Program

By Staff

Applications for the fifth year of the Plant Health Writer of the Year program, sponsored by Bayer, are now open. Last year’s winner was Larry Aylward of Grand View Media.

Larry Aylward PHWotY Jose Milan Bayer

Jose Milan, Bayer, presents Larry Aylward with the TOCA Plant Health Writer of the Year award.

“We expanded the focus of the award last year to broaden the types of articles eligible,” Den Gardner, executive director, says. “This was well received and will continue with this new criteria.”

Previous winners have been:

2013 – Larry Aylward, Moose River Media (now Grand View Media)

2014 – Karl Danneberger, North Coast Media (Golfdom)

2015 – Howard Richman, Golf Course Management (GCSAA)

The award is given annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including New Media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

These are the types of writing that are examples of what qualifies for entry in this award program:

  • Plant-specific articles related to the health of the plant.
  • Water issues and its effect on turf, shrubs, flowers, etc., regarding green spaces.
  • Fertilization/nutrient management innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Pesticide innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Mowing technologies and how new methods affect plant health.
  • Growth regulators and the effect these technologies have on plant health.

Deadline for nominations is March 1, 2017. For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340 or go to TOCA’s website.


Applications Open for TOCA College Scholarship

By Staff

Applications are now available for the TOCA scholarship program to be awarded in early 2017. The scholarship is awarded for the 2017-2018 school year.

The 2016 scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Mara McGurl of the University of Mara Mcgurl Scholarship UGAGeorgia. She also attended the annual meeting in Omaha. TOCA annually awards one, $2,500 scholarship with an additional travel stipend to attend the annual meeting.

“The committee (Cindy Code, Steve Trusty and Felicia Gillham) annually does a great job,” says Den Gardner, executive director. “The caliber of the students each year makes the decision tougher and tougher. We are thrilled to provide this monetary gift to a worthy student each year.”

TOCA staff reaches out to ACT college chapters for applications, as well as all two-and four-year schools that offer turf management programs.

Thanks to Golf Course Management, Total Landscape Care, GIE Media, Grand View Media, North Coast Media and EPG/Media & Specialty Information for supporting this program.

For more information about the scholarship please go to www.toca.org and link to the scholarship tab.


TOCA Membership Renewal for 2017

By TOCA Staff

TOCA will be emailing the 2017 Membership Renewal forms soon.   The value of being a TOCA member and the benefits you receive are many. Professional development and networking are at the top of the list. You are an important part of the organization and TOCA is embarking on a marketing plan for membership that intends to show you the many key reasons why it’s important for you to renew your membership. Look for many efforts from your TOCA members in the next several months about membership value.Group Photo from above

These efforts are being led by Andrew Gillman of Performance Marketing, Fuzz Martin of EPIC Creative and board member Russ Warner of GIE Media. They would love to hear from you regarding expanding the value TOCA brings to its members and our Thursday lunch attendeesmembership.

And you can also help us reach our membership goal, help TOCA grow and also have the opportunity to win some cash prizes with the TOCA Simple Membership Rewards Program. Recruit members to TOCA and you personally will receive cash!  How simple is that? Look for more details to be coming soon at the GIE+EXPO in Louisville next month.

In the meantime, if you find value in TOCA, we’d like you to renew all of your members and maybe even increase your individuals within your company or organization.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It’s only $140 per year for the first member and $90 for the second and subsequent members. Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of membership.Tuesday Member Reception attendees Andy Timm Fuzz

Please note that we add an optional tax-deductible $15 contribution to membership dues for the TOCA Foundation.  If you prefer not to contribute, please notify the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

If there is more than one TOCA member in your company, one person from the group will receive the membership email. He/she should pass the Membership Application form to the other members in the company who want to renew their membership.  Membership Applications can be found online at www.toca.org.  Please return a Membership Application for each renewing member with your payment so we can keep track of each renewal.

Any questions about your membership should be directed to membership director Kyle Wieskus. She can be reached at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com.

You may pay dues with a CHECK made payable to the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association.   Or you can pay ONLINE with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX).

To renew an existing membership, please log in to our members system by clicking on the line indicated.  After logging in, you will see all the members from your company –OR- your individual name.  You can update your contact information.  If you are renewing with others in your company, your Group # will be listed here.  And you can Renew Membership for 2017.

As noted earlier, dues for the first person from the company are $140.  Dues for each additional person from the same company are $90 each.  In this way your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.

We look forward to you renewing your membership.  Please don't hesitate to call the TOCA office with questions about your membership.

 


 TOCA and Bayer Offer New Member Breakfast Reception at GIE + EXPO Meeting

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is again providing a breakfast reception at the GIE + EXPO in Louisville, KY.

Bayer sponsors the breakfast, with the room provided courtesy of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

For Whom: TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Friday, October 21, 2016

Where:  Kentucky Exposition Center, Room C112

Time:  7:15 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. – Breakfast

8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Bayer Media Conference

We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast. Whether or not you plan to attend, please RSVP.  Any questions, call  952-758-6340 or email to toca@gandgcomm.com.  Thank you – see you in Louisville!


Fall 2016 Running Column                                            

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Summer has passed and we are now in the fall season.  Some would argue this is the greatest time of year to be running.  Beautiful colored leaves, temps better and the World Series is upon us.  Does it get any better than this?Runners-Walkers-Crew

It will come as no surprise to anyone when I state that vigorous exercise yields a plethora of health blessings.  That can also be said of measured or mild exercise.  The American College of Sports Medicine Position Statement on Exercise tells us – through numerous studies - that individuals who ran more than 50 miles per week had greater increases in HDL cholesterol (the good fat).  Long distance runners had nearly a 50% reduction in high blood pressure.

Well, 50 miles per week may be a lot, but getting outside and enjoying green spaces, fresh air and the like is just the right remedy for what TOCA members need. Even five miles a week is a start to some great living and great health!

As one grows older, many running experts would suggest that you switch your exercise regimen to biking or swimming.  Both have positives to your overall health.   If the pounding of running is starting to take a toll on your body, by all means visit with your doctor about other methods to keep fit.  Walking is another alternative.

As Shannon James said, exploring the connection between body and mind, “You can improve your mind-body fitness-it’s just important to choose realistic fitness options.”  Reducing your overall stress level (and feeling good about yourself) has always been the major motivation for my own fitness program.  We should all strive for stress reduction.  Choosing the proper type of fitness plan, combined with healthy diet, will help you feel better totally.

Feel free to contact me – Dan Gardner at twin1gard@aol.com - your TOCA Running Editor.  I have a multitude of ideas and I’m free.

Finally - to help make TOCA the best membership association it can be - keep that brain working as you get very much needed exercise and formulate how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best association it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

 


Calendar of Events 

Fall Photo

October 19-21, 2016
Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO)
Kentucky Exposition Center
Louisville, KY

October 19, 2016
TOCA Board Meeting – 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C102
Louisville, KY

October 21, 2016
TOCA Breakfast Reception:

7:15 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. – Breakfast

7:45 a.m. – 8 a.m. – TOCA Update

8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Bayer Media Conference

Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C112
Louisville, KY

December 5-9, 2016
Irrigation Show – New Member Meeting
Las Vegas Convention Center

December 31, 2016
TOCA Internship Host application deadline

January 17-19, 2017
British Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) at BIGGA, Harrogate, England

February 4-9, 2017
Golf Industry Show

February 8, 2017
Golf Industry Show – TOCA Breakfast Reception, 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.
Orange County Convention Center, Room TBD, Orlando, FL

February 28, 2017
TOCA Internship Student application deadline

March 1, 2017
Application Deadlines for:

  • TOCA Scholarship
  • Plant Health Writer of the Year
  • TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year

May 2-4, 2017 (Tues-Thurs)
28th annual TOCA Meeting
Saddlebrook Resort, 5700 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel, FL  33543


Welcome New Members!

Brian Bellmont, Bellmont Partners

Jeremy Bigler, Lebanon Turf

Mary Claire Carter, Global Prairie

Allison Ruth Fortner, Super-Sod

Eddie Gordon, Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Aupply

Shelli Lissick, Bellmont Partners

Mike Lytle, Lebanon Turf

Pat Morrow, Bayer

Jill Odom, Randall Reilly

Glenn Rougier, Bayer Environmental Science

Joel Sandock, Lebanon Turf

Year Five Finds Changes in Plant Health Writer of the Year Program

By Staff

Applications for the fifth year of the Plant Health Writer of the Year program, sponsored by Bayer, are now open. Last year’s winner was Larry Aylward of Grand View Media.

“We expanded the focus of the award last year to broaden the types of articles eligible,” Den Gardner, executive director, says. “This was well received and will continue with this new criteria.”

Larry Aylward PHWotY Jose Milan Bayer

Jose Milan, Bayer, presents Larry Aylward, Grand View Media with the 2016 Plant Health Writer of the Year award.

Previous winners have been:

2013 – Larry Aylward, Moose River Media (now Grand View Media)

2014 – Karl Danneberger, North Coast Media (Golfdom)

2015 – Howard Richman, Golf Course Management (GCSAA)

The award is given annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including New Media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

These are the types of writing that are examples of what qualifies for entry in this award program:

  • Plant-specific articles related to the health of the plant.
  • Water issues and its effect on turf, shrubs, flowers, etc., regarding green spaces.
  • Fertilization/nutrient management innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Pesticide innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Mowing technologies and how new methods affect plant health.
  • Growth regulators and the effect these technologies have on plant health.

Deadline for nominations is March 1, 2017. For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340 or go to TOCA’s website.

TOCA Seeks New Applications for Hall of Fame

By Staff

Ron Hall

Ronnie Hall

The TOCA Hall of Fame inducted Ron Hall at the 27th annual meeting in Omaha in May.  Previous year’s recipients include: Jose Milan, Steve Trusty, Cindy Code, Pat Jones and Jerry Roche.

The organization at that time also grandfathered four previous inductees from its Distinguished Service Award program – Margaret Bell, Den Gardner, Owen Towne and Bob Tracinski – into the Hall of Fame as well.

The TOCA Hall of Fame will now induct members each year into the Hall of Fame. For an application form for 2017 (to be inducted in May 2017 in Florida) please go to TOCA’s website. For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

TOCA Reviewing Host Media Company Rules for 2017

By Staff

888719c6c8c234da8cb45003cae44c8e-

Nate McKinniss, TOCA/TurfNet intern, in Ireland.

The fourth year internship was a great success during the summer of 2016 as Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University interned with TurfNet in a collaborative program with the company in Ireland.

In a departure from how the internship program has previously been selected the past three years, the TOCA Foundation board determined to do a test in 2016 and use the intern selected by TurfNet.  Nate blogged about his experience for TurfNet all summer long.

The internship program is sponsored by Bayer. Nate studied turf and blogged weekly during his internship in Ireland. TurfNet worked with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (GCSAI) in this program.

In the three previous years of the program, North Coast Media hosted the intern twice and Randall Reilly (through Total Landscape Care) once.

The board will determine the direction of 2017 at its fall meeting in Louisville.

If your publishing company, or association or company that has needs for a summer intern to write articles for magazines, newsletters, online copy or similar assignments, please let the TOCA staff know by contacting Kristy Mach at kristymach@gandgcomm.com.

The internship is meant to be educational and informative for both the intern and the host organization.  The internship also includes a travel stipend to attend the TOCA Annual Meeting. Thanks in advance for your interest in the great program for students.

Telling Your Story Through Infographics

By Dawn Rigby, Advanced Turf Solutions

What better way to present the information from the panel discussion, “Telling Your Story Through Infographics,” than with an infographic.

Here is my attempt at creating an infographic, using the skills I learned at the 2016 TOCA annual meeting. This infographic illustrates the comparisons between the presentations by Jim Novak and Matt Strelecki during the panel discussion.

Telling-Your-Story-Through-Infographics (2)

New Chapter for TOCA Meeting Site as Group Heads for Saddlebrook Resort/Tampa!

By Den Gardner

Executive Director

There have been 27 TOCA annual meetings in 27 different cities. The 28th annual meeting returns to Florida for only the second time – and first time since 1999 in Orlando. And the location in 2017 is the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, FL, our 28th city.Resort-Aerial

Mark these dates on your calendar: May 2-5, 2017.

Additionally, TOCA members will enjoy a first in Tampa in that we will be at a resort. But with golf, tennis, spas, restaurants and bars throughout the complex, members are in for a special treat this year.

After a very successful event in Omaha last year – more than 60+ attendees – the pressure is on to bring an event to Tampa that meets the expectations of its members from professional development to tours to award ceremonies and much more.

The theme of the meeting is still in development. TOCA thanks Bill Brown and his staff at Turf Republic/TR Digital Media  for taking on the two-year commitment of creating a theme for the annual get-together and staging/managing the award program. We will have more information for you at GIE+EXPO regarding the 2017 meeting.5-Chipping-on-18-Terrace

The meeting itself will take on a familiar look for members. There is the traditional board meeting on Tuesday, May 2, in the afternoon. The TOCA Foundation board meeting will also be conducted at this time. Members are always invited to the meeting. The evening will likely feature our optional informal gathering of members at one of the facilities at the resort.

Wednesday morning will be professional development, followed by the golf (on site) or the tour of some of the great horticultural areas of Tampa. Thursday presents more professional development throughout the day. The annual awards dinner and presentation of the best communications work of TOCA will conclude the activities in the evening.

Members may consider staying the weekend at one of the premier resorts in Florida, if not the country. The resort will welcome our members to the many amenities Saddlebrook has to offer.

The 2017 agenda will be more complete by the TOCA breakfast at GIE+EXPO in late October. Watch the TOCA web site: www.toca.org, for more information in the meantime.

See you in Tampa in 2017!

Where “Members Matter Most”

By Scott HollisterGCSAA 2014 Board and Staff Photos
TOCA Board Chair

Since its founding some 27 years ago, TOCA has accomplished some pretty special things. From the scholarships it has awarded and the professional development it has provided, to the relationships and connections it has fostered, this organization has contributed to the green industry in ways that should make all of us exceedingly proud.

But at our core, TOCA is a membership organization, and none of the important and lasting accomplishments that we have achieved over the years would be possible without you, TOCA’s members.

This is something that is rarely far from my mind as TOCA’s president. Maybe that’s because my “real job” is with another membership organization, GCSAA, where we’re reminded regularly about the importance of member growth, satisfaction and retention. The mantra “Members Matter Most” isn’t just a catch phrase at GCSAA; it’s something that drives our work on a daily basis.

I’m pleased to report that TOCA is taking a similar approach to its business, as evidenced by a pair of initiatives that you’ll be hearing about, not only in this issue of TOCA Talk, but also well into the future.

Many of us know and regularly connect with communicators in the green industry who, for one reason or another, are not current members of TOCA. They might not fully comprehend the benefits of membership, might be leery of a commitment to yet another cause or organization or they might simply have never been asked to join.

That’s where the first of these new initiatives comes in, one that aims to reward current members of TOCA with cold, hard cash for each new member they bring to the organization. Much more information about this effort will be forthcoming after its official launch at the upcoming GIE+EXPO conference in Louisville, Ky., in October, but the overall premise is simple — recruit five or more new members to TOCA and be eligible for a cash prize ranging from $25 all the way up to $300.

In recent years, TOCA’s membership rolls have swelled to their highest point in our organization’s history. But continued growth doesn’t happen on its own, which is why I’m pleased that Russ Warner, Andrew Gillman, Fuzz Martin and the rest of the membership committee have made this program and making sure that “Members Matter Most” such a priority.

Another area where TOCA is looking to spread that philosophy is overseas, among our international colleagues who work in the green industry. You’ve likely at least heard about our recent international efforts before now, but I can assure you that those efforts continue and we’re hopeful that 2017 will bring a new high-water mark to our work in the UK and Europe.

These efforts have experienced their fair share of fits and starts, to be sure, but I am IMG_1853 (3)confident that the foundation for this work remains solid. We have secured gracious financial support for our work internationally from our friends at Bayer and Jacobsen. We have a dedicated internal committee working to plot out the next logical steps in our efforts. And again in 2017, TOCA will take its message to the BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association) Turf Management Exposition in Harrogate, England, to further strengthen existing relationships, establish new ones and lay the groundwork for a possible stand-alone TOCA meeting in the UK later in 2017.

We have undertaken these overseas efforts not necessarily to grow our domestic membership as much as to create a sister organization that can serve our green industry colleagues in the UK and Europe the same way TOCA has served all of us here in the U.S., to create an organization dedicated to education, to scholarship and to giving those communicators a place where they know that members will most definitely matter most.

Techniques for Excellent Writing

By Jennifer Klemmetson
Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

Stephen Wilbers PhD

Writing consultant, columnist and award-winning author Stephen Wilbers has written more than 950 columns on effective writing. During this year’s annual TOCA meeting, he shared his techniques and exercises to help improve our writing skills.

Five Elements of Effective Writing

Good writing is clear, concise and to the point. Use these five elements to keep your writing on track.

  1. Focus on a clear, manageable central idea with subordinate ideas that support and reinforce that idea.
  2. Organize the material to guide the reader from one idea to the next.
  3. Have supporting material — including explanations, examples, statistics and quotations — that clarifies and persuades.
  4. Use clear, specific language that the audience will be able to understand. Use a variety of sentence structure and length.
  5. Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctuation is correct — people will notice if it’s not.

Proofreading Checklist

Wilbers offered four quick checks for proofreading your own work or someone else’s work.

  1. Does it look right?
  2. Is it effective?
  3. Does it sound right?
  4. Is it correct?

The 3-Step Message

This easy, three-step message helps you draft a quick, concise email or other messages to communicate more effectively.

  1. Purpose: I am writing to you because …
  2. Background: The important points are …
  3. Proposed action: I propose that you …

Practice and Set Goals

To improve your writing, create a writing plan. Short term goals: What steps will you take in the next week to improve your writing? Long term goals: What steps will you take in the next month to improve your writing? Write down 2-3 steps for each, and continuously work to improve your writing skills.

Check out all of Wilbers’ tips, columns and quick reference guides on his website at www.wilbers.com.

Panel Discussion Focuses on Editor/PR Relationships

By Sara Bojar, Bader Rutter

At the 2016 TOCA annual meeting, a panel discussion addressed industry trends and Panel Matt Gersib Brian Horn Sara Bojar Gregg Wartgowprovided insights to help with professional development. Two editors and two PR professionals met up on the final day to dissect the evolving relationship between the two professions. Brian Horn with Lawn & Landscape and Gregg Wartgow with Green Industry Pros represented the media, while Sara Bojar with Bader Rutter and Matt Gersib with MGPR spoke on behalf of the PR industry. It was a healthy conversation that generated a lot questions, comments and ideas.

Here are the some of the highlights we discussed:

  • Traditional PR has taken a backseat to new media. Sponsored content is the new norm. It’s about finding a balance that works for the publication, the writer and their client.
  • The news cycle is much shorter than it used to be, and the need for news is ongoing. PR professionals are encouraged to share content, but we need to make sure that it’s interesting, timely and relevant.
  • Both editors and their readers want quick bites of information —bullets, infographics, statistics. Basically, “tell me what I need to know and why I need to know it.”
  • New media forces all in green industry communications to know the reader/audience better, but it also allows for more customizable, targeted content.
  • Digital and social media allows for sharing news more quickly, and it gives us the opportunity to react to news much faster. However, pay attention to editorial calendars and material submission dates to ensure accurate communication.
  • Finally, we are all being challenged to do more with less. We need to continue to work together to ensure that we are communicating the right message to the right audience at the right time.

What the BugDoc Said about Biodiversity

By Britney Riggs

Advanced Turf Solutions

Dr David Shetlar ECotY Cindy Code Project Evergreen (3)

The "BudDoc," right, receives his Environmental Communicator of the Year award from Cindy Code of Project EverGreen, sponsor of the program.

The 2016 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year, David J. Shetlar, Ph.D., aka the “BugDoc," told TOCA members at the annual TOCA meeting in Omaha that urban biodiversity is real and resilient.

Dr. Shetlar said many studies completed on biodiversity are “non-target” insecticide studies. Studies conducted in Ohio and New York on the abundance of arthropods showed mites to be the most abundant. He said some entomologist studies on urban diversity use different turfgrass habitats and management but newer studies are looking at reclaimed lands.

The BugDoc continued by explaining native plants are better than non-native plants and gave his opinions on the common misconceptions of pesticides. He believes the older, simpler ways of life are not necessarily better than today’s, and natural and organic products and materials are not necessarily safer than synthetic. There can be real risks in banning pesticides.Dave_Shetlar

A Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology at The Ohio State University, Dr. Shetlar performs outreach on turf and ornamental entomology, teaches general entomology and concentrates on turfgrass entomology research. He produces the popular P.E.S.T. Newsletter in association with the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association. In 2005, he was one of the recipients of an Annual Leadership Award presented by Lawn &  Landscape and Bayer, and he received the Educator & Public Service Award from ONLA in 2010. He has coauthored several books on turfgrass insects and has a long list of research and outreach publications.

TOCA Talk – Summer 2016

EnP-basic

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by EnP.

EnP has been Engineering Optimal Plant Health™ for nearly 30 years. We manufacture liquid and dry fertilizers under three brands: EnP Turf, Foliar-Pak, and Age Old Nutrients. We believe that collaboration and the exchange of ideas are essential for innovation, which is why we are proud to support the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association.

______________________________________________________________________

GCSAA 2014 Board and Staff PhotosWherever We Are, There We’ll Be (or TOCA’s Flagship Event Is More About What We Do Than Where We Go)!

By Scott Hollister, TOCA Board Chair

Finding a home for the TOCA Annual Meeting isn’t the easiest of tasks.

In considering various locations, your board of directors takes into account matters such as the ease of travel in and out of the city, the cost of doing business there, the attractions available to attendees before, during and after the event. And then there is TOCA’s 27-year streak of conducting the meeting in a different city, which certainly isn’t a requirement we consider in this process, but is an accomplishment that makes our annual meeting unique.

I mention all of that because when we announced that our 2016 annual meeting would be heading to Omaha, Neb., it checked off all those boxes and then some. Still, I received more than a few good-natured comments from members about our selection, most along the lines of, “Omaha? Really?” And admittedly, Omaha isn’t likely to earn a spot on many TripAdvisor lists of top tourist destinations. For many, Omaha means steaks, Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha Zoo (although I never realized how large it was), the College World Series … and that’s about it.

But because I live just three hours south of Omaha, I had a little more inside information than most on what the city had to offer as the host of our annual meeting. I’d made several personal visits there, for youth soccer tournaments and long weekend getaways. On a professional basis, I’d come to the city several times, most notably to attend the U.S. Senior Open when it came to Omaha Country Club in 2013.

Plus, I knew TOCA had a couple of secret weapons in our corner when it came to planning this event in the form of longtime members Steve and Suz Trusty. They live just across the river from downtown Omaha in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and I knew how excited and proud they were to bring our event to their little corner of the world and how much they would invest in making it a success.

TOCA Meeting Attendees on StairsSo color me not-surprised-at-all that our visit to Omaha in early May was exactly that — an unmitigated success. This year’s annual meeting attracted 65 attendees, including 23 who were attending for the very first time. TOCA’s communications awards, which were presented at the annual meeting, attracted over 400 entries this year.

The educational sessions — from Steve Wilbers’ on-the-mark writing session to the insights offered on the upcoming election and what it might mean for the Green Industry by Washington insider David Crow — were met with almost universal praise. And, of course, Omaha itself opened some eyes, whether you took part in the golf tournament at Omaha Country Club, the tour of Lauritzen Gardens and the Omaha Zoo or just explored the city’s revitalized downtown area on your own free time.

In short, it was another excellent edition of our organization’s flagship event. And that event would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of a few I would be remiss by not thanking here — our incredible executive staff at Gardner and Gardner Communications, our generous corporate sponsors, the folks at EPIC Creative for the work they did on the annual meeting logo and the communications award presentation and, of course, the Trustys for everything they did to make our visit to Omaha such a memorable one for everyone who attended.

Whether you’re a rookie or a regular attendee, I hope you’ll mark your calendars now for next year’s TOCA Annual Meeting, May 2-5 at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla. It’s been an important part of my professional development throughout my career in the Green Industry, and I hope you’ll make an important part of yours, as well.

__________________________________

Den Gardner, Executive DirectorTOCA Members “Steak Their Claim” as Omaha Meeting a Prime Success

By Den Gardner,  Executive Director

 With 65+ members in attendance, the 27th annual meeting of the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is in the books. With informative presentations, the awarding of our top communications awards and remarkable weather, the Omaha meeting was undoubtedly one of the association’s best in years. See 2016 TOCA Meeting Photos.

Omaha rolled out the red carpet and, thanks to volunteerism above and beyond by 2016 Volunteers Steve Suz TrustySteve and Suz Trusty (who also were named TOCA Volunteers of the Year), members saw the best of Omaha, got reacquainted with friends and colleagues, and made many new friends. Fully one-third of attendees in Omaha were making their first trip to a TOCA annual meeting.

Here’s what just a few of the “newbies” said:

First Timers“I enjoyed the writing workshop, and I wanted to explore the resources Dr. Wilbers presented during the meeting. Thanks for an awesome meeting!”

“I’ve served in a number of industries for more than two decades and have never encountered an organization quite like this one, so I’m glad to see this sort of networking taking place. I also like the hotel and the TOCA staff was very welcoming.”

“I thought this was fantastic! It was so nice to meet fellow writers who know the challenges that come with covering the green industry. Everyone was great and I thought the writing workshop was extremely helpful. It challenged me in specific ways rather than offering vague encouragement about striving to be better.”

Thanks to our annual meeting committee – Kyle Rubeling, Jose Milan, the Trustys, Matt Gersib, and Scott Hollister, plus the crew of EPIC Creative (especially Tim Merath and board member Fuzz Martin). The local support was second to none this year. We appreciate all the great work. TOCA is its members. You personify what’s great about this organization.

I still recall the words recently by Pat Jones about what TOCA means to him (and we hope many others: “The beautiful thing about TOCA is that it’s the one place that allows us to grow our relationships with each other without all the noise, distractions and deadlines we face every hour in our jobs. Most of us spend our days trying to educate and help readers and customers. TOCA allows us a chance to recharge our batteries, learn new things and become better people and better friends. That’s indispensable.”

Let’s get on to the highlights (not necessarily in chronological order):Dr David Shetlar ECotY Cindy Code Project Evergreen (3)

Larry Aylward PHWotY Jose Milan Bayer

  • Larry Aylward of Grand View Media and Superintendent magazine was named the Plant Health Writer of the Year, a program sponsored by Bayer. The program in its fourth year, named Larry as our first repeat winner. He was named to this award through his writing about drought issues in California and how it affected plant health.

?     Our professional development workshops throughout the conference were highly rated by attendees. Those included:

?Matt Strelecki, creative director, Meredith Corporation; and Jim Novak, director of public relations, Turfgrass Producers International, reported on the latest in infographic use.

?Steve Wilbers, Minneapolis StarTribune columnist and author of several books on creative b-b writing, keynoted the meeting and provided three hours of insight into making your writing do more to reach its intended audience. Steve was making a repeat appearance from his back-to-back presentations at TOCA in the early 2000s.

?The editor/PR panel of Brian Horn, Lawn & Landscape; Gregg Wartgow, Green Industry PROs, Sara Bojar, Bader Rutter, and Matt Gersib, MGPR, brought 90 minutes of entertaining and challenging discussion amongst themselves and the members about all issues affecting the relationship between those providing the news and those representing companies and associations working to get messages on their products and services to customers.

?David Crow, lobbyist and owner of DC Legislative & Regulatory Services, Inc. (DCLRS) in Washington, DC, enlightened and entertained members about the 2016 presidential race and how it will impact the Green Industry.

  • Also in attendance this year was TOCA scholarship winner Mara McGurl of the Mara Mcgurl Scholarship UGAUniversity of Georgia. Mara took time to attend the meeting and assist with some meeting logistics, while at the same time taking a half-day during the meeting to take a final exam for the spring. We appreciate her attendance and thanks to the major TOCA media companies that sponsor this award each year.
  • Not in attendance, but already serving his 2016 TOCA internship with TurfNet in Ireland is Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University. In a departure from how the internship program has previously been selected the past three years, the TOCA Foundation board determined to do a test in 2016 and use the intern selected by TurfNet and help supplement that program through this collaboration. This program is sponsored by Bayer through a $3,000 stipend.

Jon Kiger of TurfNet reports that Nate arrived in Ireland the week of the TOCA meeting and “hit the ground running.” Jon notes he is impressing his host course with his talents and work ethic. “I also spent a week with him as part of the volunteer maintenance crew at the Irish Open at the K Club. And when I say I was ‘part of the crew,’ I mean that I was an active ‘part of the crew.’”

Nate’s blog may be found here.

TurfNet’s blog from the Irish Open may be found here.

Ron Hall of Grand View Media was named to the TOCA Hall of Fame, joining this Ron Hall HoF Den Nicole Wisniewskiesteemed group of members: Bob Tracinski, Margaret Bell, Owen Towne, Cindy Code, Pat Jones, Jerry Roche, Jose Milan, Steve Trusty and Den Gardner.

See 2016 Hall of Fame News Release and a note from Ron Hall.

The meeting culminated with the evening reception, dinner and awards program, sponsored for 27 years by Syngenta. More than 400 entries were made to this year’s program and the first place and merit winners were recognized, along with TOCA Awards Recipients 2016the Gardner Awards, given to the top winners in writing, design, photography/video and special projects.

An overall thank you to Kristy Mach and Barb Ulschmid of TOCA staff for their commitment of time and energy and talent to all things TOCA. The meeting could not have happened without their expertise and diligence. And finally, thanks to brother Dan Gardner, who each year enjoys five glorious days with TOCA staff and members on vacation in whatever city TOCA holds its annual meeting.

Now, an update for members on the business news of TOCA.

TOCA Budget Update. Annual revenue estimated at $116,500. Three of our major revenue sources – annual meeting, contest and corporate sponsorships – all met their budgeted goals. Plus there is a reserve fund of $82,477. Regarding expenses, total expenditures will be about $112,000.

Corporate Sponsors/Publishers Scholarship. Slightly exceeded goal of $50,000. Jacobsen, Stihl and EnP, Inc.,  are first-time sponsors.  For a list of total sponsors, please go the TOCA web site.

Membership Update. The most important component of the membership recruitment effort will be on promoting the value of TOCA to members. Russ Warner and Andrew Gillman will lead efforts as chairs to expand and grow memberships. Efforts will focus on state associations, other national green associations, more ornamental companies and publications.

Additional focus will be on re-making the membership section of the web site and creating marketing materials to promote TOCA at green industry shows.

Contest Update. Second year online with entries. High marks again. Total of 413 entries from 35 different companies. Highest entries in organization’s history was 426 entries. TOCA pays an annual maintenance fee of approximately $1,100 for its online contest.

GIE+Expo Breakfast. This continues to be sponsored by Bayer. This is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 a.m., Expo Center in Louisville.

GIS Breakfast. The Golf Industry Show TOCA breakfast is now sponsored by Jacobsen/Syngenta, and GCSAA/GCM.  The 2017 breakfast will be Wednesday, Feb. 18. In Orlando. Details to come.

Irrigation Association Get-together. Have now held this with Ewing’s support for the past two years, first as a breakfast, then as a lunch. Upcoming discussion on how to grow attendance of this November event, which has been about a dozen each year.

Future Annual Meetings. 2017, Saddlebrook Resort, Tampa, FL,May 2-5.  Board directs staff to look at Charlotte, Denver and Cincinnati for 2018.  As an FYI, previous locations include: Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbus, Raleigh, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, Phoenix, San Antonio, Charleston, SC, Seattle, Memphis, NAPA, Savannah, Minneapolis, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tucson, Asheville, Nashville, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Omaha.

TOCA Board of DirectorsBoard of Directors Update. These members were elected to the board at the Omaha meeting (board members with publications noted):

Scott Hollister, President, Golf Course Management 

Lacy Ravencraft, President-Elect

Jason Schmaderer, Past President

Marisa Palmieri, Secretary/Treasurer, North Coast Media

Debbie Clayton, Director

Cindy Code, Director

Jon Kiger, Director, TurfNet

Linda Beattie, Director

Russ Warner, Director, GIE Media

Brian Schoenthaler, Director

Larry Aylward, Director, Grand View Media

Jose Milan, Director

Mark LaFleur, Director

Fuzz Martin, Director

Adam Slick, Director

Kristine White, Director

Board to discuss term limits, expectations and recruiting efforts in upcoming months. A report is expected at the October board meeting.

The International Chapter. (Jose Milan will join committee) There have been efforts the past 18 months to create a chapter in Europe. Two advocates in the UK have been recruited, but because of job changes, both are no longer in the industry. However, their are some positive developments that will continue in the months ahead. 

  • The BIGGA Conference was attended by Scott Hollister the past two years. We have interest in a half-dozen or so members internationally.
  • We have been given $2,500 from Bayer and $750 from Jacobsen to try for a meeting in 2017 in Europe.  As an FYI, Sami Strutt of BIGGA joined us at the GIS breakfast several months ago, along with a couple other people.
  • We will consider attending BIGGA again in 2017 under the right circumstances. Discuss things like: timing for show, publicity for workshop, other tactics.
  • We need more assistance from U.S. TOCA members to contact colleagues in Europe to join.
  • An international chapter has been created to develop a prospect list of companies and publications, freelance writers.

 Committee Structure. TOCA will move forward with the following committees: 

  • Membership
  • Sponsorships
  • Recognition Awards (PHWY, ECY, HOF)
  • Communications Contest – Larry Aylward
  • International
  • Annual Meeting – chair will always be sitting president and president-elect/VP - Scott Hollister, Lacy Ravencraft
  • Professional Development (professional development, TOCA Talk, etc.)
  • Communications/Branding
    • Social Media subcommittee
  • Futures Committee (scholarship/internship)
  • Advisory Committee (made up of past presidents) – always to be chaired by board past-president.In addition, each committee will be responsible for two reports per year – one before October board meeting and one before annual meeting in May.

TOCA FOUNDATION

Budget Update. Please note that the TOCA Foundation budget fiscal year is Aug. 1, through July 31.  Expected revenue in the Foundation for 2016 FY is $21,400; with expenses projected at $19,950.  The foundation will move to a calendar year fiscal year in 2017.

Update on Publishers’ Scholarship. Thanks to Golf Course Management, Total Landscape Care, GIE Media, Grand View Media, North Coast Media and EPG/Media & Specialty Information for supporting this program.  We continue to go to all two- and four-year schools (including Land Grant colleges, as well as the Ag Communicators of Tomorrow – ACT --  (which has 29 chapters across the country).  Efforts to recruit SouthComm Business Media and TurfNet will be implemented in 2017.

Internship. See previous information earlier in this article. Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University is the 2016 intern.

Environmental Communicator of the Year Award. See previous information earlier in this article. Dr. Dave Shetlar of The Ohio State University is this year’s recipient.

Plant Health Writer of the Year. See previous information earlier in this article. The winner is Larry Aylward of Grand View Media. He is the first repeat winner.

__________________________________

William Brown_Turf RepublicGardner Award Winner Q&A

The TOCA Professional Development Committee continues to feature Gardner Award winners in each issue of TOCA Talk.

In this issue, new member Dawn Rigby, of Advanced Turf Solutions, spoke to William Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Turf Republic and managing partner at TR Digital Media, about his work on the 2016 Gardner Award winning project for New Media – Marketing Communications.

Please briefly describe your winning project.

TR Digital Media built the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference (OTF) Show app with our mobile application partner, Avodigy. Our mobile application allows your event to become a digital experience, whether it is a turfgrass conference, small seminar or turfgrass field day.

The OTF is organized and run by Propel Solutions and Brian Laurent. They utilize the full functionality of our mobile event app platform, which brings value to exhibitors, sponsors and attendees of the OTF Show.

What were your main objectives for the app?

 Our objectives were pretty simple:  Provide powerful engagement features for exhibitors and sponsors to interact with attendees through appointment scheduling, social media, and messaging.  Additionally, companies have new ways to promote their businesses through the app with video and digital document sharing.

We also wanted more than a digital schedule. Attendees can track conference expenses and submit an expense report right from the device. They can interact with other attendees through the app’s messaging system. Additionally, they can find and interact with local business and travel including hotels and airlines.

Event organizers, like Brian and Propel Solutions, can build surveys and polls to gather conference and market intelligence. Communication to speakers, attendees and exhibitors is simple  when it can be done right from a mobile device.

In addition, the mobile app gives speakers the opportunity to share their presentations within the app, as well as share supplemental information, contact information, and social media information. Presenters can also upload supplemental videos that they have posted on YouTube or Vimeo.

What was your strategy and what influenced your approach?

 We knew the app had to be simple and intuitive. Whether the users are attendees, exhibitors, or event organizers, they don’t have time to add steps to a busy day schedule. We made the app extremely simple to fit into an event organizer’s conference preparation process.

If folks want to use it as a digital guide, they can. If others want to it to BE their digital assistant prior to, during, and after the conference, it can be that too.

Please give us a few examples of what you think stood out in your winning entry.

We believe it was our project’s ability to give the industry a fresh new experience for conferences and shows that stood out overall. The paradigm shift in our industry to digital solutions is occurring, and we wanted our app to lead the way when it comes to the best solution for conference and show engagements for attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and conference management.

__________________________________

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

 

Welcome New TOCA Members!

Claudia Alterman, GCSAA

Maureen Patricia Acquino, Irrigation Association

Matt Brown, GCSAA

Grant Gannon, North Coast Media

Rachel Gibbons, Iron Clad Marketing

Sam Gibbons, Grand View Media

Megan Hirt, GCSAA

Nathan Huffines, Syngenta

Amy Jones, IMRE

Dave Katzer, Global Prairie

Kyle Landenburger, EnP

Casey Mills, Swanson Russell

Chris Moyer, Dow AgroSciences

George Christie Murray, EnP

Dawn Rigby, Advanced Turf Solutions

Britney Riggs, Advanced Turf Solutions

Ben Shooner, Focal Point Communications

Dillon Stewart, North Coast Media

Yelena Tischenko, Grand View Media

 

TOCA Sends Its Condolences to Two of Our Members On Loss of Their Mothers

TOCA members Debbie Clayton and Seth Jones each lost their mom about a month ago, around the time of the annual meeting in Omaha. On behalf of all of our TOCA family, we offer our prayers and condolences to Debbie and Seth and their families in this time of sorrow.

__________________________________

Runners Walkers Crew

2016 Summer Running Column                                

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

It was great to see so many of you at the TOCA annual meeting in May and especially wonderful to run alongside (OK – maybe better described as trailing far behind) so many of you at the TOCA Walk/Run.

Three frequently asked questions from readers (and novice runners) will be addressed in this month’s column.   1.  What should I wear when running?;   2.  If I get tired while running is it okay to walk?;  3.  Should I eat before I run?

Runners Walkers in LobbyDress:  The most important aspect of a good “run” is proper attire.  (You want to look good as cars, bikes, other runners meet and greet you).  This starts with a good pair of running shoes, of which I have written about in previous columns.  Be sure you have shoes designed for running.  Dress, also, for comfort and safety – the temperature, precipitation and wind are key factors in making your attire decision. And occasionally wear your TOCA t-shirts. Good for promoting the organization.

Walk:  Many runners walk during the course of a workout.  Some will run ½ mile then walk a ½ mile, and repeat.  Taking walk breaks is actually recommended by many experts to help build endurance.  Visit your doctor or local fitness guru about your own personal run/walk plan.

Eat:   It is a good idea to eat something high in carbs and low in fat somewhere around two hours before you run.  Some experts suggest an energy bar, bowl of cold cereal or possibly turkey/cheese on white bread.   An Omaha steak is not suggested as part of a pre-run diet.

Feel free to contact me – Dan Gardner at twin1gard@aol.com - your TOCA running columnist.  I’ll be happy to help you with any running questions or general health concerns.  Even though I never graduated from medical school, I’m very adept at finding answers on the interweb . . .

Finally - to help make TOCA the best membership association it can be - keep that brain working as you get much needed exercise and formulate how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best association it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

__________________________________

Summer Calendar of Events | 2016  Omaha Country Club golf course view IMG_1734

October 19-21, 2016 Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO) Kentucky Exposition Center Louisville, KY

October 19, 2016 TOCA Board Meeting – 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, KY

October 21, 2016 TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m., Bayer Media Conference – 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C105 Louisville, KY

December 5-9, 2016 Irrigation Show – New Member Meeting, Las Vegas Convention Center

December 31, 2016 TOCA Internship Host application deadline

2017

January 17-19, 2017 British Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) at BIGGA, Harrogate, England

February 4-9, 2017 Golf Industry Show

February 8, 2017 Golf Industry Show – TOCA Breakfast Reception, 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Orange County Convention Center, Room TBD, Orlando, FL

February 28, 2017 TOCA Internship Student application deadline

March 1, 2017 Application Deadlines for:

  • TOCA Scholarship
  • Plant Health Writer of the Year
  • TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year

May 2-4, 2017 (Tues-Thurs) 28th annual TOCA Meeting Saddlebrook Resort, 5700 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel, FL  33543

__________________________________

TOCA Talk – Spring 2016

 

BASF

    Thank you for supporting the industry that supports our innovations. We take great pride in developing and bringing to market innovative solutions for weed, disease and insect control, which play an important role in everyday life.  

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF.

______________________________________________________________________

GCSAA 2014 Board and Staff PhotosOur Foray Across the Pond

By Scott Hollister, TOCA Board Chair

Den Gardner, our illustrious executive director, is fond of telling the story of the first-ever TOCA annual meeting back in 1990 and the 17 people who attended that gathering in Atlanta. It’s often told in the spirit of humble beginnings, as a way to illustrate just how far our organization — now more than 250 strong — has come over the years.

It’s also been told recently to help frame our efforts to launch an international chapter of TOCA in the United Kingdom and Europe. And it’s an appropriate comparison, because while our initial work there has garnered a modest response, they’ve been responses filled with unquestioned excitement that portends a bright future ahead.

The most recent steps in TOCA’s European adventures took place in late January with a trip to the BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association) Turf Management Expo in Harrogate, England. I was honored to represent TOCA at that event, and had the opportunity to connect with green industry communication professionals from that side of the pond who share our enthusiasm for professional development, education and networking, and want to put the TOCA U.S. model to work there.

We continued to foster those connections in early February in San Diego at the Golf Industry Show, when several of our international friends joined us for the TOCA New Member Breakfast that took place there.

Eventually, it is our hope that the connections we are making in the UK and in Europe will translate into a stand-alone organization, much like the domestic version of TOCA. The desire for continuing education in communications, for strengthening relationships between industry editors and public relations/marketing professionals is the same there as it is here in the United States. And if we can assist in the creation of an organization that delivers those things — whether through activities during existing green industry events in the UK and Europe or through a stand-alone meeting — then I believe we can consider our foray overseas to be a success.

Our plans for the next chapter in these efforts are focused on our upcoming annual meeting in Omaha, Neb., May 3-5, efforts that will have great benefits stateside, as well, for TOCA members who are unable to attend. We are working to establish a live Internet stream of some of the presentations that will be available during the annual meeting so interested international parties can get a first-hand look at the kind of education we offer here and what can potentially be offered there. This stream will be free to view, whether you’re in London, U.K, or London, N.C., so look for more details on this initiative to come.

While TOCA’s international outreach remains in its infancy, I can tell you that all involved in trying to make it a reality are confident in our path and in ultimately successfully creating a presence overseas in one form or another. And hopefully, those efforts will spurn a whole new set of stories about the modest beginnings of a vibrant, active organization much like Den’s tale of that first trip to Atlanta some 26 years ago.

I also want to take one brief moment and thank Bayer and Jacobsen. Through Jose Milan, Bayer, and Karen Proctor, Jacobsen, they have invested in TOCA internationally and are providing some underwriting to get the ball rolling on an independent TOCA meeting in Europe – possibly as soon as the fall of this year. Thanks for believing in this vision and goal of making TOCA an international presence. If you’re a company that wants to get on the TOCA bandwagon and assist in a sponsorship, please let Den know.

I hope your 2016 is off to a great start, and I look forward to seeing you in May in Omaha.

__________________________________

Den Gardner, Executive DirectorSteak Your Claim – TOCA heads to Omaha!TOCA_2016Logos_fnl

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

The TOCA meeting is just two short months away as our members invade this great city on May 3-5. The theme: “Steak Your Claim” (thanks to design by EPIC Creative) will entice members as we lay claim to the best professional development meeting for Green Industry communicators in the industry.

MagnoliaCourtyardOur home during our stay will be the Magnolia Hotel, a boutique-style property near the historic Old Market entertainment district. The program of professional development, networking opportunities and the chance to reward the best communications work in the Green Industry should entice you to the great Midwest.

This year’s highlights include:

  • As noted previously, a Tuesday night reception at the Omaha Press Club. Through the membership of Suz & Steve Trusty, TOCA members will enjoy an optional reception. The reception will feature complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. The club is walking distance from the hotel.

 

  • Stephen Wilbers, who had rave reviews in 2002 and 2003 as our keynote speaker in San Antonio and Charleston on b-b writing, is back for a Thursday morning presentation with a new book and great new insights into writing copy for our trade audiences and Green Industry clients.

Wilbers is a writing consultant, columnist, award-winning author, Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota, and Fulbright Fellow. He has offered training seminars in effective writing to more than 10,000 business, technical, legal, and academic writers and to a wide variety of clients, including Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, 3M, U.S. Bank, Xcel, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Cargill, Ryan Companies, Thomson Reuters, the Metropolitan Council, the Wilder Foundation, Fredrikson & Byron, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and the Oregon State Bar Association. And, of course, TOCA back in the early 2000s.

Wilbers teaches both written and oral presentation skills. He has also taught in the Carlson School of Management’s M.B.A. Program, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative and Professional Writing. He has written more than 900 columns on effective business writing. His column appears twice a month in the business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

He has published two collections of his columns--Writing for Business--(winner of a 1994 Minnesota Book Award) and Writing by Wilbers. His book on stylistic technique--Keys to Great Writing--has been described as "a writing class in a book" that "breaks down general advice on what to do into practical steps on how to do it."   His most recent book--Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style-- is a compilation of his free monthly writing tips.

Dr. Wilbers earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. For more information about Steve, please go to: www.wilbers.com.

  • Telling your story through infographics. Our program committee is rounding up a panel to explore this very topical seminar on Wednesday morning. Our members asked for a workshop on this through our survey after last year’s meeting in Milwaukee. Thanks.

Zoo_tigercubs

  • The tour group on Wednesday afternoon will feature visits to the Omaha Zoo (plus members will get a free pass to the zoo on Friday if they plan to stay an extra day) and Lauritzen Gardens. (Additional tour information.)

 

  • Golfers will play the award-winning and prestigious Omaha Country Club. Cost will be about $90 for green fees and cart (normally $250)! Details to come, but look for the normal fantastic array of prizes.

 

  • Wednesday night’s reception will also be at Lauritzen Gardens. The website describes the gardens this way: “Lauritzen Gardens is a living museum of uniqueLauritzenGardens_waterfeature four-season plant displays, maintained to the highest standards consistent with environmental stewardship. It provides memorable educational and aesthetic experiences for all. Escape to an urban oasis of beauty and tranquility to experience the glory of the garden. Discover a hidden sanctuary in the heart of the city. Relax while cultivating your mind in this living plant museum, conveniently located in the beautiful riverfront hills.”

LauritzenGardens_IndoorUrabnOasis

  • After a five-year absence (and oh how the PR world has changed in five years) we are bringing back our very popular editor/PR panel to discuss how in today’s climate, editors and PR practitioners can work together to provide Green Industry audiences with the type of information they need to succeed in business.

 

  • Finally, our workshops will conclude with a presentation by David Crow of DCLRS in Washington, D.C. Crow is an expert in what the political winds are saying about 2016 nationally and how this will impact the Green Industry. The primary season will be mostly concluded by early May and David will have much to say about the candidates. He serves a lobbying role for RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment).

Of course our meeting will end with the annual awards banquet. Also during the two days of meetings will be our presentations of our Environmental Communicator of the Year, Plant Health Writer of the Year, our business meeting and much more.

For registration/meeting information, please go to the TOCA web site for additional information. Stay tuned for additional information in the months ahead. See you in Omaha!

Trustys will have free tickets to the Omaha Zoo for those planning to stay on Friday.

______________________________

Editor's Note:  Each month, the TOCA Professional Development Committee profiles a TOCA Member -- the stories live on under the Members Tab of the TOCA Website.

What Makes Larry Tick?

Getting to know our TOCA board members

By Debbie ClaytonLarry Aylward Head Shot

As editor in chief of Superintendent magazine and assistant editorial director of Sportsfield Management and Tree Services magazines, Larry Aylward knows a bit about turf… and writing. The first winner of the TOCA Plant Health Writer of the Year Award in 2013, Larry has written about turf for 18 years. He has been a TOCA member since 2000 and has served on the TOCA Board for four years.

  1. Most of us know you've been a turf editor for many years….but how did you break into the business? 

Omigosh, the how did I get started question! Do you have five hours? Just kidding! I got a part-time sports writing gig at a daily county newspaper that led to a full-time gig. Later, I became entertainment editor of the paper. I didn’t make a lot of money, but I got to do some cool things, like cover professional sports, including golf. I also got to interview Willie Nelson on his tour bus. It was a great place to learn, especially how to write on deadline late at night. Most of the people there were really into the craft, and they were just awesome. I was fortunate to work there. 

  1. When did you discover golf? Do you remember your first time on a golf course? 

I really don’t remember my first time on the course, which is probably a good thing. I love the game, but I’m just not very good at it. I love to play nine-hole rounds — alone — and just enjoy the time. And if I get a few pars and a birdie, I’m ecstatic. 

  1. Where did you grow up and go to college? What inspired you to become a writer? 

I grew up in L.A. — lower Akron — home of LeBron James, the Black Keys and Chrissie Hynde. The homeboy that I am, I attended the University of Akron, which was enjoyable. I love music, and I began writing “album” reviews for the campus newspaper. I stuck with the paper and became editor of it during my senior year.

  1. Rumor has it that you are a big Bob Dylan fan --- how did that come about? 

I became a Bob Dylan fan in the seventh grade. This was during the mid-’70s and Dylan was putting out some great stuff. His song “Hurricane,” about the framing of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter for a crime he did not commit, just blew me away — from Dylan’s lyrics to the song’s furious pace. Dylan’s views through his elegant words — from his takes on peace and love to simply living by the golden rule — have had a tremendous impact on my life. To date, I’ve seen Dylan live about 40 times in a span of nearly 40 years. No regrets.2008 TOCA Mpls Band wLarry

(Editor's Note: Larry sang "Like a Rolling Stone" with the famed Little Chicago band at the 2008 TOCA meeting in Minneapolis and brought the house down!)

 

 

  1. What is your favorite Cleveland sports team and why? 

The Cleveland Indians. I love baseball, and I love the Tribe. Some day, a World Series title. Some day …

  1. Outside of work, what do you do for fun?

I like to go my town’s rec center, where I do a variety of things. I love my family and spend much time with them. Outside of work, I also like to work. It is a passion.

_______________________________

TOCA Breakfast at GIS GIS TOCABreakfastGroup_wDen

More than 40 TOCA members gathered in San Diego during the Golf Industry Show for the annual TOCA breakfast, sponsored by Syngenta and Jacobsen.

Members received an update from TOCA Executive Director Den Gardner on a number of items, including:

  • The annual meeting in Omaha in early May – see TOCA meeting details here.
  • The communications contest – which attracts about 400 entries each year – deadline is March 15.
  • International update – several members from Europe/Asia attended the breakfast.
  • Membership – a reminder to get your dues paid soon for 2016.CindyCode2_GIS

Members also received an update from Cindy Code about Project EverGreen, the national consumer initiative to provide positive news about use of green spaces where consumers live, work and play. Cindy, a board member of TOCA, explained about two major programs of TOCA – the GreenCare for Troops program and the Healthy Turf, Healthy Kids initiative.

____________________________

TOCA Contests Update

By Kristy Mach, TOCA Contest Manager

TOCA Contest MedallianThe contest deadline is March 15 for both the 26th Annual TOCA Communications Contest, and the 11th Annual TOCA International Communications Contest.

The contest showcases the best of the best in the green industry – both in publishing and marketing communications.

This is the second year using the BetterBNC platform, and it’s going smoothly. If you encounter an issue, you can either hit the Help & Support button in the upper left corner of your screen, or call me at 952-758-6340.  If it’s an emergency – and let’s face it, most contest issues are – feel free to call my cell phone at 952-843-3108.

We’re looking forward to celebrating all the entrants at the Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 5 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Quick Links:

Contest Entry Instructions

Contest Categories - US

International Contest Categories

________________________________

RunnerGet Ready for Spring Running!

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

For those of us who live in melting snow-weather states, running regularly in the spring is sometimes as much a challenge as running in winter.   There are numerous running publications that can help you “survive” the wet, but to save you some research time – here are some quick tips from running ace and personal trainer Ashley Crossman:

  1. If your running regimen was light for the winter, ramp up your miles very slowly – 10% at most each week.
  2. Be sure your shoes are ready for the spring and if not, buy yourself a new pair. You should replace your shoes every 300-500 miles.
  3. Work toward a goal . . . if new to this business, try running for twenty minutes without stopping.
  4. Make sure you have proper gear, including a water resistant jacket. Spring can be very wet. 5.  If you have seasonal allergies, consider running indoors until the allergy season dissipates.

For those new at this running game that are looking for that new pair of running shoes, don’t try to do this solo. Go to a running specialty store and have an expert sales person fit you.  This is a must because that person will figure out what type of foot you have.  This, in turn, will get you into the proper type of shoe.

And for those of you who have made the surge into full-fledged running, here are the “best” spring marathons in the United States: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon – Virginia Beach VA, March 20, 2016; Country Music Marathon – Nashville TN, April 30, 2016; Big Sur International Marathon – Big Sur, CA, April 24, 2016; Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon – Cincinnati OH, May 1, 2016; KeyBank Vermont City Marathon – Burlington VT, May 29, 2016, Grandma’s Marathon – Duluth MN, June 18, 2016 (also happens to be my wife’s birthday.  She will not be running, however, due to two knee replacement surgeries – not at all related to running).

Finally, as always, be thinking while you run about all the ways to make TOCA the best membership association it can be and how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best it can be. And don’t forget to mark May 5 on your calendar for the TOCA Run/Walk event. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

___________________________________

Welcome New TOCA Members!

Jeff Luke, Bioworks

Dan Augustine, EPIC Creative

Chris Mier,  EPIC Creative

Andy Parmann,  EPIC Creative

Sheilah Rossow,  EPIC Creative

Dave Katzer, Global Prairie

Caroline Pratt, Global Prairie

Sophia Wronsky, Global Prairie

Melanie Anne Sajbel, Jacobsen

William Bussler, Kohler

Carlos Toro, Turf Republic

________________________________

 SpringFlowers

Calendar of Events | 2016

March 15, 2016 – TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline:

May 3-5, 2016 (Tues-Thurs) 27th annual TOCA MEETING, Magnolia Hotel – Omaha, Nebraska – May 3-5.  2016 TOCA Meeting details

________________________________

TOCA Talk – Winter 2016

BASF

 Thank you for supporting the industry that supports our innovations. We take great pride in developing and bringing to market innovative solutions for weed, disease and insect control, which play an important role in everyday life.  

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF.

 _____________________________________________________________________

GCSAA 2014 Board and Staff PhotosThe value of storytellers

By Scott Hollister, TOCA Board Chair

During a recent visit with a golf course superintendent I was writing a story about, I got a much-needed reminder of why all of our jobs are so crucial to so many, and how an organization like TOCA can help us do those jobs better.

This superintendent — for the sake of this story, I’ll call him Peter (because his name is actually Peter) — has earned a reputation in golf as not only an excellent turfgrass manager, but also one of the most vocal advocates in the country for superintendents and their environmental stewardship efforts in the management of their properties.

He’s a superintendent who does things the right way, he knows plenty of other superintendents who do things the right way, and maybe most importantly, he knows the value of telling other people — lawmakers, regulators, the consumer media — about all the good things those superintendents are doing.

“We have to get out there and actively participate,” he told me. “We can’t sit on the sidelines. If we don’t tell our stories, nobody is going to tell them for us.”

After reading the story I had written about him, “Peter” sent me a complimentary note, thanking me for my work and for “telling our story.” It was a great pick-me-up for this editor, who too often finds himself burdened by matters that have next to nothing to do with putting out a monthly magazine.

And it was also a great reminder that the work we do each and every day does make a difference, that telling the stories of our constituents and clients is a noble pursuit. Whether you’re a magazine editor, a company public relations official or a marketing professional at the agency level, we all have a skill set that is valued by others. Our collective ability to tell these stories is one we shouldn’t take for granted.

It’s also one that we need to regularly nurture, which is where TOCA comes in. The kind of professional development opportunities offered by our organization, whether through webinars available through our partnership with the Poynter Institute or at our annual meeting — which heads to Omaha, Neb., May 3-5 — keeping those skills sharp while exploring all of what our profession has to offer in the future remains one of the best ways to make sure each of us continue to deliver the goods for our readers and our clients.

So the next time you need a reminder about why we do what we do, remember “Peter” and his words of advice. Keep telling those stories, because whether we know it or not, they’re making a difference to someone.

-----------------------------------------

Den Gardner, Executive DirectorSteak Your Claim – TOCA heads to Omaha!

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

It bears repeating: Steve and Suz Trusty, who live near Omaha, once said: “An annual meeting in Omaha for TOCA has a nice ring to it. It’s someplace I know our members would love to see someday.”

The TOCA meeting is just five short months away as our members invade this great city on May 3-5. The theme: “Steak Your Claim” (thanks to design by EPIC Creative) will entice members as we lay claim to the best professional development meeting for Green Industry communicators in the industry.TOCA_2016Logos_fnl

We have a tremendous program planned. Thanks to chair Kyle Rubeling and his program committee – Jose Milan, Matt Gersib and the Trustys, this year’s 27th annual meeting will be one you won’t want to miss.  2016 TOCA Meeting Agenda

Our home during our stay will be the Magnolia Hotel, a boutique-style property near the historic Old Market entertainment district, which has everything to satisfy your deepest cravings for dining, drinking, shopping, etc. The hotel was named to the National Register of Historic places in 1974.

This year’s highlights include:

  • New this year: A Tuesday night reception at the Omaha Press Club. Through the Trusty membership, TOCA members will enjoy a reception. More details to come.
  • That Steve Wilbers, who had rave reviews in 2002 and 2003 as our keynote speaker in San Antonio and Charleston on b-b writing, is back for a Thursday presentation with a new book and great new insights into writing copy for our trade audiences and Green Industry clients.

Wilbers is a writing consultant, columnist, award-winning author, Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota, and Fulbright Fellow. He has offered training seminars in effective writing to more than 10,000 business, technical, legal, and academic writers and to a wide variety of clients, including Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, 3M, U.S. Bank, Xcel, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Cargill, Ryan Companies, Thomson Reuters, the Metropolitan Council, the Wilder Foundation, Fredrikson & Byron, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and the Oregon State Bar Association. And of course TOCA back in the early 2000s.

Wilbers teaches both written and oral presentation skills. He has also taught in the Carlson School of Management’s M.B.A. Program, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative and Professional Writing. He has written more than 900 columns on effective business writing. His column appears twice a month in the business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

He has published two collections of his columns—Writing for Business—(winner of a 1994 Minnesota Book Award) and Writing by Wilbers. His book on stylistic technique—Keys to Great Writing—has been described as "a writing class in a book" that "breaks down general advice on what to do into practical steps on how to do it." His most recent book—Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style—is a compilation of his free monthly writing tips.

Dr. Wilbers earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. For more information about Steve, please go to: www.wilbers.com.

  • Telling your story through infographics. Our program committee is rounding up a team of experts to explore this very topical seminar on Wednesday morning. Our members asked for a workshop on this through our survey after last year’s meeting in Milwaukee. Thanks.
  • The tour group on Wednesday afternoon will feature visits to Omaha’s Henry Jungle Bridge close up 2 (3)Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (plus members will get a free pass to the zoo on Friday if they plan to stay an extra day) and Lauritzen Gardens.
  • Golfers will play the award-winning and prestigious Omaha Country Club. Cost will be about $90 for green fees and cart (normally $250)! Details to come, but look for the normal fantastic array of prizes.
  • Wednesday night’s reception will also be at Lauritzen Gardens. The website describes the gardens this way: “Lauritzen Gardens is a living museum of unique four-season plant displays, maintained to the highest standards consistent with environmental stewardship. It provides memorable educational and aesthetic experiences for all. Escape to an urban oasis of beauty and tranquility to experience the glory of the garden. Discover a hidden sanctuary in the heart of the city. Relax while cultivating your mind in this living plant museum, conveniently located in the beautiful riverfront hills.”

Wow is all I can say about the great evening TOCA will have at this location.

  • After a five-year absence (and oh how the PR world has changed in five years) we are bringing back our very popular editor/PR panel to discuss how in today’s climate, editors and PR practitioners can work together to provide Green Industry audiences with the type of information they need to succeed in business.
  • Finally, our workshops will conclude with a presentation by David Crow of DCLRS in Washington, D.C. Crow is an expert in what the political winds are saying about 2016 nationally and how this will impact the Green Industry. He serves a lobbying role for RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) and will have plenty to say about the upcoming election.

Of course our meeting will end with the annual awards banquet. Also during the two days of meetings will be our presentations of our Environmental Communicator of the Year, Plant Health Writer of the Year, our business meeting and much more.

Registration information will be at the TOCA web site soon. We will certainly provide additional information in the months ahead. See you in Omaha!

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A Welcome & HighlightsSteve Suz Trusty

From Steve & Suz Trusty

We are so happy that TOCA will be in Omaha this year! Not because we won’t have far to travel, but because we’ll have a chance to show you just a small bit of why we think this area is such a special place. We have lived in West Omaha, now in Iowa within 15 minutes of downtown, and never further than three hours from Omaha. After all that time, there are still many things we haven’t done. We keep looking and trying new things.

One thing that is always changing is the restaurant scene. While excellent, it just keeps getting better. In fact, according to Livability.com, Omaha rates as the nation’s No. 2 “foodie city” of 2015, up from No. 9 last year in the rankings. While famous for steaks, there is just about any ethnic food that you could ever imagine. National food critics have given high praise to the Boiler Room and the Grey Plume. Farm-to-table is very popular. Livability.com also gave Omaha high ranking in the following categories: Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for Families 2013, Top 10 Music Cities in 2012, and 99 Best Beers in 99 Best Beer Cities in 2015. You should plan to come and stay a week or more, just don’t plan on staying the weekend before TOCA. The Berkshire Hathaway stockholders have every room booked in a 60 mile radius or more.

Be sure you attend the reception at the Omaha Press Club on Tuesday evening. You’ll have an excellent view of the city and you can connect with other attendees and decide where you want to go for dinner. We’ll have a list of some of our favorite places and some favorites other TOCA members have suggested for you on check-in at Registration or the front desk. A few of the best known places might require reservations, but many won’t on a Tuesday evening.

If you are not a golfer, you’ll definitely want to take Wednesday afternoon’s tour. You’ll get to enjoy some of the sights of the city while you savor your box lunch on Ollie the Trolley. After that you’ll have a few hours to get an overview of Omaha’s Henry Doorly AquariumZoo & Aquarium. It was voted Number One Zoo in the World by TripAdvisor, April 2014. It was named the largest zoo in the world by Touropia.com. You can not see it all in one day. You will get to see many of the highlights. Many of the attractions, including the dome_dusk (3)Lied Jungle, the Aquarium, the Desert Dome, Kingdoms of the Night, the Aviary and others were the largest in the world when they were constructed. Many of those still hold that ranking. The new $73 million, 28-acre African Grasslands is the zoo’s largest undertaking to date. It is scheduled to be completed this summer. Most of it should be ready for your viewing in May. We highly recommend, if you like zoos and can spare the time, that you stay over on Friday after TOCA and spend as much time as you’d like at the zoo. We have made arrangements for a Friday pass for those who request them in advance.

LauritzenGardenslogoAfter the Zoo, we’ll hop back on the trolley for a short ride back to the other side of I-80 and spend some time at Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s Botanical Center. The Gardens cover over 100 acres and opened in 1995. New gardens and features have been added every year. The Visitor and Information Center contains over 32,000 sq. ft. of indoor space. The newest addition is the Conservatory where the TOCA Reception will take place. You are welcome to stay and visit the gardens right up until the reception starts at 7:00 p.m. and then visit the Conservatory at that time. If you feel you must go back to the hotel prior to the reception, transportation will be provided.

If you want any suggestions on other things to see or do while in the area, don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll be happy to help you get the most out of your stay.

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Steve CastleA Fond Farewell

By Steve Castle, Communications Executive for the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)

 It’s 2016 already? I’m starting to feel old. Fortunately, no one has offered me a seat on public transport yet, which is generally the accepted sign that you are over the hill. However, bands that I remember releasing their first single are reforming for ‘Farewell’ tours, the offspring of eminent sports people are beginning to emulate their parents on the field of play and most horrifyingly of all, young turf managers born in NINETEEN NINETY NINE are joining our Association.

Indeed, our Membership Executive Elaine Jones has joked she will flee the premises forever the moment a member joins who was born in 2000. At least, we think she’s joking.

Fortunately, the last few weeks have provided much to distract me from the inevitable march of time. I’ve decided to move on from this industry and have joined a media agency which specializes in managing the social media profiles of various organizations.

During the interview for the role, my brief yet inspiring involvement with TOCA was discussed on several occasions, and I’m convinced this played a significant part in my successful application. Not only did last year’s epochal TOCA annual meeting cover many of the areas I will be concentrating on in the new position, the mere fact that I was part of such a committed, passionate and valuable organization must have worked in my favor.

Sadly, I’m leaving the turf industry just days before BIGGA’s flagship show in North Yorkshire – BTME. I’ve had to convince my boss this was a total coincidence! So I will not be present at TOCA’s partner event taking place on the Monday of the exhibition, but many of my current industry contemporaries will be taking advantage of the opportunity, and it’s sure to be another landmark as TOCA spreads its wings in the UK and Europe.

All that remains is for me to thank everyone at TOCA, particularly Kristy, Den and Scott, who absolutely shared my belief that TOCA membership plays a key role in professional (and personal) progression. I sincerely hope our paths cross again in the future, and the memories of a special week in the States last May will never fade, no matter how many years fly rapidly by.

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Editor's Note:  Each month, the TOCA Professional Development Committee profiles a TOCA Member -- the stories live on under the Membership Tab of the TOCA Website.

Here's…..Linda!LindaBeattie - head shot (2)

Getting to know our TOCA board members:   Linda Beattie 

By Debbie Clayton

Please tell us a little about your background -- where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, the youngest of five children who all still live in the city. I moved out to Willow Grove, PA four years ago. It’s about 10 miles outside of the city, which is about as suburban as I get. Being raised in a blue collar city like Philadelphia with a population of 1.5 million certainly influenced my life and I credit the city for carving out the person I am today. The city is my first alma mater and the first love of my life.

How did you get into the turf industry?  

I interviewed at Schiller 15 years ago with a wonderful high-energy man named Ken who was the head of Human Resources. He told me I was over qualified and that I would probably be bored here. (Back then Schiller only had two brands of outdoor power equipment:  Little Wonder, which is our landscaping and debris management equipment line, and Mantis, a line of tillers and composters.)

I told Ken that I would find a way to make a positive impact at Schiller. With an attitude like that how could not give me the job? I’ve been with Schiller and in the turf care industry ever since.

What do you do at Schiller and how long have you been there? What changes have you made since taking your position?

I was originally hired as the Marketing Admin. But I’m a communicator by nature. I was promoted to PR Rep for the company within my first year here and held that position for 10 years. In that period we tripled in size, at least by brand count.

We acquired the Classen brand of turf care equipment in 2004 and our BOB-CAT, Ryan and Steiner brands in 2006. Needless to say, I was very busy. I learned the power equipment industry and really became intimate with the turf care industry as well – it led me to TOCA! I am now Marketing Manager for our Classen, Little Wonder and Mantis brands.

I love marketing -- I’m never bored and every day I get the opportunity to make my own way. It’s the perfect career for the free-thinking, creative, opinionated/passionate type like me!

We know you have a lot of children -- tell us a little about them!

While I gave birth to three children, I claim mom rights to six. I had a son and shared in raising my niece with my mother when I met my husband Scott who had a daughter and a son of his own. We had a son and daughter together. All together we have three boys and three girls. Not quite the Brady Bunch as I don’t have an Alice. (Though I’d sure like one.) The ages of our children line up nicely; Krystal is 28, Penny is 27, James is 25 as is Tim, Johnny is 16 and Danielle just turned 14 this past November.

We know you are a Phillies Phanatic -- how do you stay optimistic during these tough times?

I’m a passionate fan. I’m loud, proud and I like to talk smack. You never have to wonder where I’m from because I get off the plane in my colors. I walk your city in my colors. Believe me, lately, that’s not always an easy thing to do.  

What do you do for fun -- aside from going to Phillies games?

Spending time with my family is my favorite form of fun. We also have a campsite that we go to during the spring and summer seasons which is a great stress reliever for me and it offers a lot for the family to do as well.

And of course I enjoy my career. I know “work” sounds like a BS answer. Not for me. When you have six kids work is a vacation. So my advice to all the newbies out there is to enjoy what you do because life is too short to be miserable eight plus hours a day.

When did you discover TOCA and what do you like best about TOCA? 

I was introduced to TOCA when I was still relatively new in my PR Rep position at Schiller When my work load doubled with the acquisition of three more brands of equipment, I figured that I better start taking advantage of the education and support system the association has to offer. I attended the annual meeting in Minneapolis and I don’t believe I’ve missed an annual meeting since.

What I like best about TOCA are the educational resources available to me. Education comes in many forms. The annual meeting offers sessions, workshops and round tables and year-round webinars and such, but I’ve always found my fellow members to be the most valuable resource. You have access to editors, publishers, agency leaders, writers, marketing professionals and manufacturer representatives from the top companies supporting the industry. Where else can you find that? Nowhere that I know of.

An association is only as good as its members and you can only get out of a relationship what you put in to it. I wish I had been a more active in the beginning. Today, I am a member of the board and enjoy mentoring new members so that they too can take advantage of all that TOCA has to offer.

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Trending in Green Industry - New Cannabis PubCannabis

By Kyle Brown

Since I started working with GIE Media, I’ve been writing about the green industry – grass, specifically – in one way or another. And although my job has shifted recently, the trend still holds. I’ve started with a new title focused on a slightly different type of grass: cannabis.

Believe me, I’ve heard the jokes already. Almost everyone who I’ve told about the switch has asked me when I start getting editorial samples, or how soon we’ll start doing reviews (probably never on both counts, for the sake of argument). But heading over to Cannabis Business Times gives me the chance to see an industry develop from the ground up, and be a part of something that could potentially change lives.

Cannabis growers are people passionate about plants for one reason for another, whether they’re entrepreneurs who are looking to learn to grow, or growing pros who need business management. No matter their background, they want the same thing out of a grow: To raise the best plants possible. And that resonates with anyone in our industry, regardless of your personal feelings about the plant. It’s great to go to conferences and see the lectures packed full of people asking good questions. It’s even better to see those people go and be successful in the industry itself, and to be able to play a part in that education. The people involved in this industry have such great stories, and I can’t wait to help tell them.

Another major part of working on CBT for me takes me back to when I started as an associate editor for Golf Course Industry. I came into the publication not knowing much about turf, but it didn’t take long before I started seeing connections. The green industry connects so many important parts of our culture in dotted lines that most people outside never have a reason to think about beyond the color of their lawn or some new ornamentals: labor, energy, politics and others. It staggers my mind sometimes to think of the number of lives touched by a small change from one of our readers. But supporting the green industry supports so many other people – and cannabis gives me a whole new way to do that, especially through medical applications.

So yes, we can definitely make a joke in passing (like that one) about the new job. But I’d probably rather talk about California’s new wild west of regulations for medical grows and its effects on energy and labor – not to mention the rest of the state’s professional green industry.

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storynatemckinniss-108x150McKinniss of OSU to be TOCA Intern in 2016

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University has been selected as TOCA’s 2016 intern. McKinniss will intern for TurfNet.

In a departure from how the internship program has previously been selected the past three years, the TOCA Foundation board determined in October to do a test in 2016 and use the intern selected by TurfNet and help supplement that program through this collaboration.

“We look forward to providing a great experience for our media intern and to a great partnership between TurfNet and the TOCA Foundation on this endeavor,” says TurfNet’s Jon Kiger. “We are excited that Nate also will attend the TOCA breakfast at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) on Feb. 10 in San Diego and meet many of TOCA’s members.”

The internship program is sponsored by Bayer. Nate will receive a $3,500 stipend to assist him financially in managing his expenses in Ireland through the internship. The TurfNet intern (Nate) studies in turf and blogs during his internship in Ireland.  TurfNet staff supervises and suggests edits, etc.  Nate will work 40 hours per week on the golf course as a turf management student and write outside of that assignment. TurfNet works with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (GCSAI) in this program.

Interestingly, GCSAI has won a number of TOCA International Awards, as the intern also writes for Greenside magazine as well. A former TurfNet intern, Peter Braun, won a merit award for Best Blog in recent years. Visits to manufacturers are also part of the internship and Kiger also hopes the internship will help TOCA in promoting its new overseas chapter it is creating in Great Britain.

“This is an experiment of sorts for TOCA this year, but we’re excited about testing this new twist on our three-year old internship program,” says Scott Hollister, TOCA board president. “We believe this type of arrangement can be beneficial for both the intern and the participating organizations, and if successful, envision the program evolving into a rotation between TurfNet and other interested parties moving forward.”

Melanie Krawczyk of Illinois State was the 2015 intern. She was hosted by Total Landscape Care. The program was hosted by North Coast Media the previous two years.

The board also determined at its October meeting that marketing communications and Green Industry businesses will be eligible to host the intern in 2017, along with publishing organizations.

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2016 TOCA Communications Contest View More: http://shannonstclairphotography.pass.us/werblow-family

By Kristy Mach, Associate Director

It’s time to start compiling your best from 2015 for the TOCA Communications Contest. The program will kick off Feb. 1, with a deadline of March 15.  All eligible work must be articles published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015, or collateral/ads/brochures, etc. produced and printed within the same time period.

The contest remains online, with the BetterBNC Media Awards Platform.  Except for a few categories that require the judges to have printed materials in their hands, all entries will be submitted “electronically” – uploaded through the system as digital file attachments and/or as URLs. For the few mail-in categories, you still submit the entry form online, then the system will generate an entry form/mailing label to send with your physical entry.

So, as you begin to select your entries, again this year you don’t have to pull physical tear sheets or make multiple big notebooks of media/special event materials. Think “digital” – PDFs of  articles, or Word docs of special event materials, jpegs of photo entries or of 3D items that are part of a media event. Have URLs ready to type in for podcasts or websites, for example, complete with any and all passwords or other log-in information judges will need so they can judge your work online.

Digital file attachments need to be 5MB or smaller to be uploaded directly as entries. For larger files (5MB to 250MB), there is an option on the Submit Entry page for you to upload those files into a free host account. Then you’ll copy/paste the hosted item’s web address into the Website URL field. You can also use Scribd.com, Dropbox.com, Issuu.com etc. for these larger files.

Another tip in advance – BetterBNC is optimized for the Google Chrome Browser for both PC and Macintosh computers, and will be fully supported by BetterBNC customer support. So please have the latest version on your computer and be sure to use it when you enter.

Lastly, if you’ve not paid your TOCA dues for 2016, please do so as soon as possible so you are eligible to enter the TOCA Communications Contest. Contact Kyle Wieskus at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com if you are unsure of your paid membership status.

We know there will be questions again this year, and we will provide more information regarding the entry process closer to the open on Feb 1.  In the meantime, pull your best together and get ready for awards night on May 5 in Omaha, Neb.

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TOCA Seeks New Applications for Hall of Fame

 By Staff

The TOCA Hall of Fame inducted wo pioneers of the organization – Jose Milan and Steve Trusty at its 26th annual meeting in Milwaukee in May. The previous year, Cindy Code, Pat Jones and Jerry Roche were inducted at the organization’s 25th annual meeting in New Orleans.

The organization at that time also grandfathered four previous inductees from its

Distinguished Service Award program – Margaret Bell, Den Gardner, Owen Towne and Bob Tracinski – into the Hall of Fame as well.

The TOCA Hall of Fame will now induct members each year into the Hall of Fame. TOCA Hall of Fame 2016 Application  (to be inducted in May 2016 in Omaha). For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

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TOCA Announces the 2016 Environmental Communicator of the Year Program

By Staff

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) announces its eighteenth Environmental Communicator of the Year Award program. The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, is given annually to an active green industry member for outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular audience within the turf and ornamental industry.

Winners in the first seventeen years were: Mark Welterlen of Grounds Maintenance Magazine; Bill Love of W.R. Love Golf Architecture; Tim Doppel of Atwood LawnCare, Inc.; Doug Fender, Turf Producers International; Allen James, RISE; Rod Dodson of Audubon International; Jeff Gullikson of Spokane Country Club; Kevin Trotta of IPM; Helen Stone of Southwest Trees & Turf; Allied Golf Associations of Colorado; Drs. Larry Stowell and Wendy Gelernter of PACE Turf, Chris Gray of Marvel Golf Club in Kentucky, Anthony Williams of Stone Mountain Golf Club, Frank S. Rossi, Ph.D. of Cornell University, and Phil Fogarty of Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management, Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., turfgrass professor at the University of Tennessee

The award is open to anyone in the green industry. Nominees, however, must be a present TOCA member or be nominated by a present TOCA member. (A member can nominate herself/himself).

The award is given annually at the TOCA annual meeting, held this year in Omaha,NE, May 3-5, 2016. A $500 cash stipend is presented to the winner.

TOCA is composed of editors, writers, photographers, publishers, public relations/advertising practitioners and others involved in green industry communications. The association was formed in 1990 to serve members of the green industry.

Applications will be judged and a winner selected by a group of independent, expert judges.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE EMAILED OR POSTMARKED BY MARCH 1, 2016.

WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED IN MARCH 2016.

For more information, contact Den Gardner at toca@gandgcomm.com or 952-758-6340.

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Year Four Finds Changes in Plant Health Writer of the Year Program

By Staff

The fourth year of the Plant Health Writer of the Year program, sponsored by Bayer, willBayer Logo find changes to what types of articles qualify for writers to be eligible for selection in this program. Until this year the program criteria required that only articles specific to plant health would be eligible for candidates to enter to qualify for the award.

“We’re expanding the focus of the award to broaden the types of articles eligible,” Den Gardner, executive director, says. “This was at the request of the TOCA board and discussions with representatives from Bayer. We are pleased with the new criteria.”

Previous winners have been:

2013 – Larry Aylward, Moose River Media

2014 – Karl Danneberger, North Coast Media (Golfdom)

2015 – Howard Richman, Golf Course Management (GCSAA)

The award is given annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including New Media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

These are now the types of writing that are examples of what qualifies for entry in this award program:

  • Plant-specific articles related to the health of the plant.
  • Water issues and its effect on turf, shrubs, flowers, etc., regarding green spaces.
  • Fertilization/nutrient management innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Pesticide innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Mowing technologies and how new methods affect plant health.
  • Growth regulators and the effect these technologies have on plant health.

For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340. 2016-PlantHealthWriter-Application.

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Applications Open for TOCA College Scholarship

 By Staff

 Applications are now available for the TOCA scholarship program for the 2016-2017 school year. The 2015 scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Jenna Hay of Texas Tech University. She also attended the annual meeting in Milwaukee. TOCA annually awards one, $2,500 scholarship.

“The committee (Cindy Code, Steve Trusty and Felicia Gillham) annually does a great job,” says Den Gardner, executive director. “The caliber of the students each year makes the decision tougher and tougher. We are thrilled to provide this monetary gift to a worthy student each year.”

For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340. 2016 TOCA Scholarship Program Application.

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TOCA Membership Renewal for 2016

Having reached our 2015 membership goals of 250 members, the TOCA emails for the 2016 Membership Renewals have been sent. The good news is we have been growing for the past five years and for that we say thanks to you. Now, more than ever, we need you to renew all of your members and maybe even increase your individuals within your company or organization. You can help us reach our goal and help TOCA grow.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It’s only $140 per year for the first member and $90 for the second and subsequent members. Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of membership.

Please note that again this year we have added an optional tax-deductible $15 contribution to membership dues for the TOCA Foundation. If you prefer not to contribute, please notify the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

If there is more than one TOCA member in your company, one person from the group will receive the membership email. He/she should pass the TOCA Membership Application_form to the other members in the company who want to renew their membership. Membership Applications can be found online.   Please return a Membership Application for each renewing member with your payment so we can keep track of each renewal.  You may pay dues with a CHECK made payable to the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association.   Or you can pay ONLINE with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX).   Click on Membership.  Click on Why Join TOCA?  At the bottom of this page click on Join and Pay Online.  To renew an existing membership, please log in to our members system by clicking on the line indicated.  After logging in, you will see all the members from your company –OR- your individual name.  You can update your contact information.  If you are renewing with others in your company, your Group # will be listed here.  And you can Renew Membership for 2016.

Your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.   We ask that you contact the TOCA office by December 31, 2015, with any changes to your contact information from last year so we can get the corrections into the online membership directory.  All renewals for 2016 are due by the end of this year.  We look forward to you renewing your membership.  Please don't hesitate to call the TOCA office with questions about your membership.  Send emails to: toca@gandgcomm.com

Den Gardner, Executive Director

Kristy Mach, Associate Director

Kyle Wieskus, Membership Director

Barb Ulschmid, Meeting Planner/Assistant Director

P.O. Box 156, 605 Columbus Ave. S.

New Prague, MN 56071

Office: 952-758-6340   Fax: 952-758-5813

Email: toca@gandgcomm.com

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WELCOME!

New TOCA Members 

Glenn Rougier, Bayer Envir. Science

Chris Moyer, Dow AgroSciences

Eddie Gordon, Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

Melissa Moseley, Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

Ben Shooner, Focal Point Communications

Deidre D' Aniello, Green Industry Pros

Gregg Wartgow, Green Industry Pros

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TOCA, Jacobsen, Syngenta and GCSAA/Golf Course Management Magazine Offer

New Member Breakfast Reception at Golf Industry Show (GIS)

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is providing its annual breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Diego.  GCSAA/Golf Course Management magazine, Jacobsen and Syngenta are co-sponsoring the reception.

Breakfast Details:

For Whom:  TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where:  Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, San Diego, CA, Sapphire 410 Room

Time:     7:00-8:15 a.m. breakfast and TOCA update

We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast.

An Evite has been sent out to all TOCA members. Please remember to RSVP. Any questions, you may contact Den Gardner or Barb Ulschmid at 952-758-6340 or e-mail toca@gandgcomm.com.

Thanks and see you in San Diego!

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Let’s be Safe Out There  

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

For those of us who live in cold-weather states, running regularly in the winter is certainly a challenge. There are numerous running publications that can help you “survive” the cold, but to save you some research time – here are some tips.

RunnerinWinterUse shoes that have the least amount of mesh. Wear socks that keep wetness away, but keep your feet warm.

Dress warm without sweating so much that you get chilled. Assume you wear gloves and stocking cap. Maine Track Club President Mark Grandonico says: “ . . . be slightly cool when you start.”  Wear layers and see what feels comfortable for you.  Many suggest that when the temp dips below zero, run indoors.

  1. Wear reflective clothing as piles of snow can make it harder for others to see you. If running in early morning or after sunset, carry a flashlight!
  2. If it is a windy day, start your run into the wind so the wind doesn’t chill you after you have broken a sweat.
  3. Winter running is more about maintenance than speed. Save your speed workouts for spring.

ENJOY your running regimen and be safe out there. And let me finish with the words my spouse shared with me the other evening (quoting Erma Bombeck), “The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”   You can interpret that comment any way you’d like.

Finally, be thinking while you run about all the ways to make TOCA the best membership association it can be and how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

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Calendar of Events | 2016  Winter Snow

January 18, 2016

TOCA International Half-Day Workshop/Seminar

British Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) at BIGGA

Harrogate, England

9:00 AM – Noon

February 8-11, 2016

Golf Industry Show, San Diego, CA

February 10, 2016

TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.                                                   Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Room: Sapphire 410 San Diego, CA

March 1, 2016 – deadline – 2016-PlantHealthWriter-Application deadline – Environmental Communicator of the Year Application 2016 application deadline

March 7, 2016 TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline

April 1, 2016 TOCA International Communications Contest entries deadline

May 3-5, 2016 (Tues-Thurs) 27th annual TOCA Meeting Magnolia Hotels, Omaha, NE

2016 TOCA Meeting Agenda

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TOCA Talk – Fall 2015

 

Thank you for supporting the industry that supports our innovations. We take great pride in developing and bringing to market innovative solutions for weed, disease and insect control, which play an important role in everyday life.   TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF. 

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GCSAA 2014 Board and Staff Photos

More than a meeting

By Scott Hollister, TOCA Board Chair

During my formative years in the green industry, TOCA meant one thing to me — meetings, most notably the organization’s annual meeting and the two breakfast meetings at the Golf Industry Show and GIE+EXPO. (And now we have a third gathering at the Irrigation Association annual meeting.)

I’m sure many of you view your involvement through the same lens, and with good reason. These events bring together our members unlike any others on the calendar, and they represent much of what TOCA is all about. They offer the professional development, networking and camaraderie that are at the core of our organization, offerings that have resonated among green industry communicators over the past 26 years and have helped us grow our ranks to more than 250 members and counting.

But for many, attendance at those meetings is where their involvement in TOCA ends. I know it’s a description that fit me for many years as I happily attended annual meetings and breakfasts at GIS, but participated little past that. There were still benefits to be had and value to be received, but as I would discover, both had their limits when going to these meetings was the only commitment I was willing to make.

It wasn’t until my involvement in TOCA grew and my contributions increased that I realized just how far past those limits I could go. Starting with my service on committees and continuing through election to the board of directors and, eventually, an officer position, I discovered that the more contributions I made, the more value I received from my membership and the richer my experiences with TOCA became.

So if you’ve ever wondered how you can get more out of your membership in TOCA, I’ll offer two simple words of advice — get involved. Volunteer to serve on one of the committees that advise the organization on everything from membership growth to professional development and the annual communications contest. Offer to help out in the planning of the professional development agenda at an upcoming annual meeting, including next year’s trip to Omaha, Neb., May 3-5, 2016.

And if it makes sense in your particular situation, consider offering your services to TOCA’s board of directors. During our annual meeting in Milwaukee, we added two new board members — Adam Slick with Jacobsen and Fuzz Martin with EPIC Creative — to that body, and we’re always interested in learning about other TOCA members willing to serve in that capacity.

TOCA’s meetings obviously serve as a great foundation for what our group is all about. But I hope you’ll take a moment to consider how you can draw even more out of your time as a member of our organization. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions members might have about investing more in TOCA. Feel free to contact me at shollister@gcsaa.org.

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If It’s Good Enough for the Trustys…Omaha Here We Come!

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

Steve and Suz Trusty, who live near Omaha, once said: “An annual meeting in Omaha for TOCA has a nice ring to it. It’s someplace I know our members would love to see someday.”

Well, Omaha indeed is the site for the 2016 TOCA meeting on May 3-5. The theme is being developed for the meeting by EPIC Creative and our more than 250+ members will be notified at GIE+EXPO of more 2016 plans. But did you know that:

  • There are only 40 cities in the U.S. larger than Omaha?
  • It’s the 60th largest metropolitan area in the U.S?
  • The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium was proclaimed the “world’s best zoo” in 2014 by TripAdvisor? With 17,000 animals, 962 species and 130 acres, it’s a must see as the largest zoo in the world according to Touropian.com. In fact, it’s likely the TOCA tour on Wednesday afternoon will be to view the zoo with a horticultural perspective.
  • Mega-conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway is headed by Omaha investor Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, according to a decade's worth of Forbes Magazine rankings, some of which have ranked him as high as No. 1? I think the Trusty’s may be just out of the top 10, according to our sources.
  • That our home during our stay will be the Magnolia Hotel, a boutique-style property near the historic Old Market entertainment district, which has everything to satisfy your deepest cravings for dining, dancing, drinking, shopping, etc.? The hotel was named to the National Register of Historic places in 1974.
  • The Old Market is Omaha's most historic, most entertaining neighborhood? The cobblestone streets are home to a diverse mix of shopping, galleries, restaurants, taverns and people-watching.
  • Omaha is the home of the Gallup Poll and the College World Series?
  • The "Top 40" radio format, pioneered by Todd Storz, scion of Omaha's Storz Brewing Co., and head of Storz Broadcasting, first started in the U.S. in Omaha at KOWH Radio?
  • That Steve Wilbers, who had rave reviews in 2002 and 2003 as our keynote speaker in San Antonio and Charleston on b-b writing, is back with a new book and great new insights into writing copy for our trade audiences and Green Industry clients?

In keeping with its tradition of having a different site for each TOCA meeting, the soon-to-be 27th meeting in Omaha promises more and better professional development, the best awards program in our business, great camaraderie/networking and so much more. We hope you can make it.

Steve Wilbers is Back

While other professional development workshops for the TOCA meeting are being created as we speak, we do know that our keynote presenter will be Steve Wilbers, a writing consultant, columnist, award-winning author, Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota, and Fulbright Fellow. He has offered training seminars in effective writing to more than 10,000 business, technical, legal, and academic writers and to a wide variety of clients, including Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, 3M, U.S. Bank, Xcel, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Cargill, Ryan Companies, Thomson Reuters, the Metropolitan Council, the Wilder Foundation, Fredrikson & Byron, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and the Oregon State Bar Association.

And of course TOCA back in the early 2000s.

Wilbers teaches both written and oral presentation skills. He has also taught in the Carlson School of Management’s M.B.A. Program, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative and Professional Writing. He has written more than 900 columns on effective business writing. His column appears twice a month in the business section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

He has published two collections of his columns--Writing for Business--(winner of a 1994 Minnesota Book Award) and Writing by Wilbers. His book on stylistic technique--   Keys to Great Writing--has been described as "a writing class in a book" that "breaks down general advice on what to do into practical steps on how to do it."   His most recent book--Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style-- is a compilation of his free monthly writing tips.

Dr. Wilbers earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. For more information about Steve, please go to: www.wilbers.com.

The 2016 agenda will be more complete by the TOCA breakfast at GIE+EXPO in late October. Watch the TOCA web site: www.toca.org, for more information in the meantime.

See you in Omaha in 2016!

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 Steve Castle

TOCA Part of a Global Industry

By Steve Castle

Communications Executive for the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)

 Watching the U.S. PGA Championship unfold on the frankly gorgeous shores of Lake Michigan, I found it was impossible for my mind not to drift. Partly this was because I’d placed a bet on the immensely likeable Jason Day to triumph at both the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and The Open Championship at St Andrews, only to see him narrowly miss out. Naturally, I had forgotten to do this for the final major of the year with inevitable consequences. C’est la vie.

But my main reason for daydreaming was to think back to the TOCA annual meeting 2015, held just a short jog (or stumble in my case) from that very same body of brilliant blue water. It’s remarkable that several months have passed already, and we here at the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) are now fully gearing up for BTME 2016, our annual turf management exhibition, which for the second time will feature a TOCA communications conference.

This truly is a global industry. I was recently fortunate enough to travel to South Africa for a two-week break, and on returning to the UK immediately headed north to St Andrews for a very wet and windswept Open Championship. For many years, courtesy of the R&A, BIGGA have taken 50 members to each tournament to join the home greenkeeping team in preparing the course, helping out during inclement weather and raking the bunkers for the professionals. In the BIGGA marquee nestled close to the famous 17th ‘Road Hole’, who should be the first characters to walk in but four South African greenkeepers looking for advice on establishing an official association?

After surprising them with my newfound knowledge of their country, and embarrassing myself with some outrageously off-key pronunciations of some of the locations I’d visited, we had an extremely positive discussion about supporting them in their future endeavors. It’s this type of global collaboration that TOCA is all about, and I’m already excited (if a little nervous!) about presenting during the TOCA’s Green Industry Communications event at BTME in January.

The immediate ambition is to attract my colleagues from across the turf media industry in the UK. This should cement the steps we have already taken in growing TOCA internationally, and ensure 2016 is a big year for spreading the word. In the meantime, does anyone have any cast-iron tips for next year’s golf majors?

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Getting the Scoop on TOCA Gardner Award Winners 

(Editor’s Note: The Professional Development Team continues its series on 2015 Gardner Award winners.)

First up: Lacy Ravencraft (Ewing Irrigation Products) recently spoke with Jon Kiger, Director of Media and Membership Sales at TurfNet, about his 2015 Gardner Award.

Jon and David Kiger on location at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

(L-R:) Jon and David Kiger on location at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Could you please briefly describe your winning project?

The winning project was “TurfNet on the Global Stage: Preparing and Maintaining Pitches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.” The two-part video series interviewed a director of the company that built nine of the twelve soccer pitches (fields) used during the World Cup. It also interviewed the primary pitch care manager of the World Cup facility in Sao Paulo. The videos helped turf managers around the world understand the challenges of constructing the pitches in Brazil and the procedures to maintain them for this event on the global stage.
Jon Kiger with Roberto Gomide of World Sports Solutions International - subject of one of the Gardner Award-winning videos

 

(L-R:) Jon Kiger with Roberto Gomide of World Sports Solutions International - subject of one of the Gardner Award-winning videos.

 

What were your key objectives and strategies in approaching this work? What influenced your approach? 

Honestly the series came about quite by accident. My son and I were staying in Sao Paulo during the FIFA World Cup, and took a long taxi ride to visit TurfNet member Rick Holanda at Santa Pazienza Golf Club about an hour out of town. When we arrived, we asked Rick for our best solution for getting back into the city and he mentioned that Roberto and Luis were visiting his course later that afternoon, and they could probably give us a lift. I had our TurfNet video gear with me since we were filming Rick, so when I learned that they were involved with the design, construction and maintenance of the 2014 World Cup facilities I naturally arranged to interview them about the process while we were all together. The goal of the interviews was to give professional turf managers an overview of the pitch design and maintenance for this world class event. Jon Kiger with TurfNet Member Rick Holanda at Santapazienza Golf Club outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

(L-R:) Jon Kiger with TurfNet Member Rick Holanda at Santapazienza Golf Club outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil 

What was your favorite part of the project? 

By the time we filmed the interviews, I had been to three World Cup matches in the cities of Brasilia, Curitiba, and Rio. I was heading back home the next day, but my son David was staying with his cousins in Sao Paulo (my mother was born in Brazil) and attending another match in the stadium in Sao Paulo. Since the interviews were about the Sao Paulo pitch, I had him take still photos and video footage, which we incorporated into the series. He has been along for many TurfNet TV shoots, but this is the first one that he actually gathered the material that was used in the production. To be able to incorporate the once in a lifetime experience of attending World Cup matches into content for TurfNet was very special.

Please give us a few examples of what you think stood out in your winning entry. 

The timely nature of the videos stood out. We filmed this at the beginning of the World Cup, and had both videos completed and on TurfNet.com before the World Cup ended. Domestic videos are relatively easy to capture and produce. Being in a remote location and producing content about an event watched by millions around the world was particularly satisfying. Most of our content on TurfNet is golf-related. The fact that we could create an award-winning production on the topic of sports turf demonstrates the depth of our understanding of all aspects of turf maintenance. It also shows our commitment to covering turf issues wherever and whenever they happen.

Parting thoughts… 

This is a great example of always being on the lookout for interesting stories. We were at a golf course for a totally different purpose, yet when the opportunity to film about the World Cup pitches came about, we pounced on it. As mentioned above, my mother was born in Brazil and through that my sons and I are also Brazilian citizens. The whole trip included attending World Cup matches, visiting with relatives and seeing many sights around Brazil. To be able to share some of those experiences within the industry I serve was a real treat.

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Editor’s Note: Next, we asked Jose Milan, Director of Green Business Operations for Bayer, a few questions about Bayer and Global Prairie's Marketing Communications Gardner Award for Photography, Video and Multimedia for “The Historic Restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 (abridged).” 

Could you please tell us about your winning project?

In 2011, Pinehurst Resort began a restoration project to restore the No. 2 course to its original intended design from 1948. Part of that process involved fostering the growth of indigenous native grasses, growing fewer acres of turf under intensive management, and practicing sustainable pest management techniques. Bayer helped make this possible through a collaboration with NCSU and Pinehurst. Together, we combined efforts to help Pinehurst Resort understand the diversity of native plant species and to plan an ecological approach to managing the newly reintroduced plant life.

The story itself is about revivalism and ecology, but also sustainability. We debuted the project during the 2014 U.S. Open and Women’s Open Championships. That year, the championships were hosted back to back. It was the first time in history that both tournaments were played in the same year on the same course.

How did you come up with the idea for the historic restoration? Superintendents are challenged on a daily basis to manage turf in a way that reduces playing time, protects natural resources and lowers operating costs—all without sacrificing playability. For Pinehurst No. 2, the goal was not only to reclaim its historical care, but also to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to meet today’s challenges. It was an effort that we were more than thrilled to support.

What do you think led to your success with this project? The bulk of our success stemmed from really great alignment of objectives for Bayer, NCSU and Pinehurst. Bayer and NCSU were in a strong position to be able to provide the strategic counsel that Pinehurst was searching for on agronomic, plant health and plant biodiversity issues.

It was also a fitting time for the industry, with an increased focus on sustainable solutions, plant health and fostering the growth of native species. The Pinehurst project was as much about nostalgia and restoring a legendary golf course as it was about education and partnering with fantastic experts like those at NCSU.

How did you measure your results? It was important to us to ensure the industry understood why this was such a special opportunity. To that end, we wanted to carefully monitor the ways the message resonated with superintendents, so we used a variety of platforms – traditional and trade media, social media, television as well as microsites and other print and digital means.

Bayer and Global Prairie collaborated to develop a robust video featuring the newly redesigned golf course as well as a series of news releases, press materials for both national and trade media coverage and social media around the restoration’s success.

Our key metrics included coverage in high-profile trade media publications, TV coverage of various restoration videos, and engagement among our social followers. As opposed to impressions alone, our main focus was on retweets, mentions and participation in Twitter contests throughout both Opens. The goal was to encourage continuous interactions and to engage our followers throughout the championships.

We also looked at earned media promotion through a Pinehurst-dedicated microsite, where we measured the number of unique visitors, the percentage of visitors who started watching the video as well as the top sources for web traffic.

To help bolster visibility even further, we also implemented a paid media campaign to promote the program through advertorials and placements in U.S. Open e-newsletters by targeted industry publications, like Superintendent magazine.

Any further thoughts about working on it? Bayer is fully dedicated to university academics and research as well as the support of higher education. We were honored to work with NCSU on this important and highly meaningful project and grateful for the opportunity to help support Pinehurst through a memorable and historical restoration.

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Melanie Kraqczyk 2015 TOCA Intern (2)TOCA intern ‘showed a strong work ethic and great attitude from day one’ 

By Melanie Krawczyk

(Editor’s Note: This summer, Melanie Krawczyk of Illinois State University in Bloomington, IL, was TOCA’s intern. She speaks of her experiences working on Total Landscape Care magazine. The internship is funded through the TOCA Foundation with a grant from Bayer.)

The daunting task of finding a summer internship is one that haunts college students until, well, looking for an actual job. As a current senior at Illinois State University, I study agriculture communication. I have loved plants, agriculture and the green industry for as long as I can remember. I also love to talk and learn from others, so naturally this major was a great fit. When my department sent out an e-mail regarding an internship from TOCA for a landscape magazine, I knew I had to apply. With previous internships in both landscaping and blog writing, TOCA must have seen that I was a great fit.

Randall-Reilly, the company that publishes Total Landscape Care magazine, is located in Alabama. I live in Illinois. While staying in Alabama for the summer would have been a great experience, it was just not logistically feasible. Working from home became the best option for us. And thankfully, the people at Randall-Reilly were able to make that happen.

Every day I would wake up and get to work by 8 a.m. and find press releases to edit into shorter stories, article ideas to develop and words of encouragement from my extraordinary editor and mentor, David Rountree. I had some fun tasks too, including attending webinars about weeds in Texas.

Writing for a magazine was all new for me. I have run social media pages and blogs, but actual writing wasn’t in my current repertoire of experiences. But, when you’re a hard working lady like me, nothing can stop you. I read articles published on the site and did some research. From my first short, my writing got better as my confidence grew.

I was extremely surprised by the amount of respect I received. I interviewed people from the EPA about the Clean Water Rule. I talked to CEOs from large start-ups and leaders from many different national associations. They all talked to me as if I was their equal. If I ever received a press release from a company without a picture (which I learned is called “art” in the journalism world,) I would simply e-mail the communication specialist that sent me the release for a picture to include. They would promptly send me a picture or graphic, usually with an apology. Little intern Melanie got apologies.

People just wanted their news to be heard. While the news industry and how people are receiving their news is changing, consumers of trade magazines, as I discovered, continue to want to be informed on the most recent ideas. From safety features on lawnmowers to invasive species in the home landscape, I covered it all.

My favorite part of the program was easily the week I spent in Tuscaloosa. TOCA was generous enough to fly me down for a week to see the office and meet David. While I did get some writing done while I was there, I also enjoyed seeing the University of Alabama’s campus, as well as eating a lot of comfort food.

I am extremely grateful for this experience. Writing and good communication skills are universal and can be carried to any job I could ever dream of having. With graduation approaching in May, questions like, “What’s next?” are flying at me. While I think grad school is somewhere in the future, I would like some industry experience first. I think I have it boiled down to two things. I would love to work for a communication association or marketing board. I would also like to work with urban audiences to incorporate agricultural and plant knowledge -- whether it is with politicians or the public.

I would like to thank Den Gardner from TOCA for noticing something in me and letting me tackle this opportunity -- and to Bayer for sponsoring this internship program. I would like to thank Marcia Gruver Doyle from Randall-Reilly for setting me up with my wonderful mentor David Rountree. He was incredibly friendly and intelligent, which was exactly what I needed being somewhat new to writing for publications. His daily phone calls kept me motivated, for which I was really thankful. He was grateful as well, as he noted in this note for me:

“Melanie showed a strong work ethic and great attitude from day one of the internship. She also showed a great deal of talent as a researcher and writer. While we tried to give Melanie some interesting assignments along the way, she was also tasked with a lot of routine yeoman’s work - rewriting news releases and the like. She demonstrated her professionalism by taking those routine items seriously and producing clean copy quickly. I’m extremely grateful for the TOCA internship program, and if Melanie is any indication about the quality of candidates, I’ll look forward to our next opportunity to play host to the association’s intern

As quickly as my year has begun, it will surely end. In the months to come, I will be searching high and low for a job that I will love – or at least pay the bills. I wish good luck to TOCA’s next intern. I can already tell it will be a great stepping stone for me, and I know it will be for them as well.

2016 TOCA INTERNSHIP APPLICATION

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TOCA Looking for Intern Host Publication for 2016

The fourth year search for a publication to host the intern for the TOCA Internship Program is underway. The internship program is sponsored by Bayer through the TOCA Foundation.

In the three years of the program, North Coast Media has hosted the intern twice and Randall Reilly (through Total Landscape Care) once – in 2015. The 2015 intern was Melanie Krawczyk of Illinois State Univeristy (see article above).

If your publishing company, or association or company that has needs for a summer intern to write articles for magazines, newsletters, online copy or similar assignments, please fill out the 2016 TOCA INTERNSHIP HOST APPLICATION on the TOCA website. Go to www.toca.org for more information.

The experience, as noted above in the article by Melanie, is educational and informative for both the intern and the host organization. Thanks in advance for your interest in this great program for students.

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Two Nebraska Turf Students blogging for TurfNet this summer
By Jon Kiger, TurfNet

TurfNet summer interns from University of Nebraska

On the left is Jeff Lenihan who blogged for TurfNet about his experiences working for Campey - a supplier of sports turf equipment. On the right is the fourth annual TurfNet Ireland Golf Course intern - Eric Bruening. He blogged for TurfNet during his summer working at Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare, Ireland. It was the fourth summer TurfNet has helped place an intern in Ireland.

TurfNet continued its annual run of student-produced content during summer 2015 by employing two University of Nebraska turf program students as bloggers. Jeff Lenihan was stationed in Macclesfield, Cheshire (England) working for Campey Turf Care Systems. He assisted with demo days and customer visits across Europe, primarily on the sports turf side. Throughout the summer he hosted the Pitch Prep in the UK blog on TurfNet. Jeff wrote over thirty individual blog posts between May and early August.

Of his summer in Europe, Lenihan had this to say, "I had an incredible time in Europe and learned so much by talking with groundsmen and other turf industry professionals in seven different countries. This internship allowed me to see the best of the best in the profession with trips to Manchester United, Arsenal, Wimbledon, and St. Andrews. Richard Campey and everyone at Campey Turfcare Systems made this past summer an amazing experience and I can’t thank them enough.”

For the fourth consecutive year TurfNet helped place a student intern at a golf course in Ireland. Eric Bruening - a rising senior at University of Nebraska - worked at Lahinch Golf Club in County Clare for the summer while blogging for TurfNet. This was TurfNet’s first student blogger to work at a traditional Irish links course. His blog continued through his volunteer experience at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. For the second consecutive year, TurfNet’s Greenkeeping the Next Generation blog was sponsored by TOCA member Jacobsen.

Eric Bruening shared his thoughts on what it meant to spend the summer in Ireland, "The entire experience was better than I could have ever imagined. The entire staff at Lahinch Golf Club went out of their way to accommodate me and TurfNet provided the ideal platform for me to share my experience. Top to bottom, my experience was unforgettable.” Bruening has been hired as an editorial intern (handling social media and other topics) for TurfNet through the end of 2015.

TOCA member Jon Kiger has coordinated TurfNet’s international internship blogging program for the past four years. “It has been a real thrill to see turf students from the U.S. break out of their comfort zones by living and working in a different country. We appreciate their efforts blogging for TurfNet while developing an additional skill that will serve them well in their careers. We believe this is some of the only student-generated content in our industry.”

TurfNet reported updates on their former Irish interns in the following article:

http://www.turfnet.com/news.html/_/blogging-interns-where-are-they-now-r531

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TOCA Seeks New Applications for Hall of Fame
 By Staff

 The TOCA Hall of Fame inducted two pioneers of the organization – Jose Milan and Steve Trusty at its 26th annual meeting in Milwaukee in May. The previous year, Cindy Code, Pat Jones and Jerry Roche were inducted at the organization’s 25th annual meeting in New Orleans.

IMG_0960IMG_0957

The organization at that time also grandfathered four previous inductees from its

Distinguished Service Award program – Margaret Bell, Den Gardner, Owen Towne and Bob Tracinski – into the Hall of Fame as well.

The TOCA Hall of Fame will now induct members each year into the Hall of Fame. Click on the r a TOCA Hall of Fame 2016 Application to be inducted in May 2016 in Omaha) please go to TOCA’s website. For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

 

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Year Four Finds Changes in Plant Health Writer of the Year Program
By Staff

The fourth year of the Plant Health Writer of the Year program, sponsored by Bayer, will find changes to what types of articles qualify for writers to be eligible for selection in this program. Until this year the program criteria required that only articles specific to plant health would be eligible for candidates to enter to qualify for the award.

“We’re expanding the focus of the award to broaden the types of articles eligible,” Den Gardner, executive director, says. “This was at the request of the TOCA board and discussions with representatives from Bayer. We are pleased with the new criteria.”

Previous winners have been:

2013 – Larry Aylward, Moose River Media

2014 – Karl Danneberger, North Coast Media (Golfdom)

2015 – Howard Richman, Golf Course Management (GCSAA)

2015PHW_HowardRichman&ScottPatty

The award is given annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including New Media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

These are now the types of writing that are examples of what qualifies for entry in this award program:

  • Plant-specific articles related to the health of the plant.
  • Water issues and its effect on turf, shrubs, flowers, etc., regarding green spaces.
  • Fertilization/nutrient management innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Pesticide innovations and its effect on green spaces.
  • Mowing technologies and how new methods affect plant health.
  • Growth regulators and the effect these technologies have on plant health.

For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340 or go to TOCA’s website.

2016-PlantHealthWriter-Application, emailed or postmarked by March 1, 2016.

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TOCA ANNOUNCES THE 2016 ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR PROGRAM

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) announces its eighteenth Environmental Communicator of the Year Award program. The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, is given annually to an active green industry member for outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular audience within the turf and ornamental industry. Winners in the first seventeen years were: Mark Welterlen of Grounds Maintenance Magazine; Bill Love of W.R. Love Golf Architecture; Tim Doppel of Atwood LawnCare, Inc.; Doug Fender, Turf Producers International; Allen James, RISE; Rod Dodson of Audubon International; Jeff Gullikson of Spokane Country Club; Kevin Trotta of IPM; Helen Stone of Southwest Trees & Turf; Allied Golf Associations of Colorado; Drs. Larry Stowell and Wendy Gelernter of PACE Turf, Chris Gray of Marvel Golf Club in Kentucky, Anthony Williams of Stone Mountain Golf Club, Frank S. Rossi, Ph.D. of Cornell University, and Phil Fogarty of Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management, Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., turfgrass professor at the University of Tennessee

2015ECY_BrianHorgan&CCode

The award is open to anyone in the green industry. Nominees, however, must be a present TOCA member or be nominated by a present TOCA member. (A member can nominate herself/himself).

The award is given annually at the TOCA annual meeting, held this year in Omaha,NE, May 3-5, 2016. A $500 cash stipend is presented to the winner.

TOCA is composed of editors, writers, photographers, publishers, public relations/advertising practitioners and others involved in green industry communications. The association was formed in 1990 to serve members of the green industry.

Applications will be judged and a winner selected by a group of independent, expert judges.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE EMAILED OR POSTMARKED BY MARCH 1, 2016.

WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED IN MARCH 2016.

For more information, contact Den Gardner at toca@gandgcomm.com or 952-758-6340.

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Applications Open for TOCA College Scholarship
By Staff

 Applications are now available for the TOCA scholarship program for the 2016-2017 school year. The 2015 scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Jenna Hay of Texas Tech University. She also attended the annual meeting in Milwaukee. TOCA annually awards one, $2,500 scholarship.

“The committee (Cindy Code, Steve Trusty and Felicia Gillham) annually does a great job,” says Den Gardner, executive director. “The caliber of the students each year makes the decision tougher and tougher. We are thrilled to provide this monetary gift to a worthy student each year.”

For more information about this program, please contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340 or go to TOCA’s website.

2016 TOCA Scholarship Program Application, emailed or postmarked by March 1, 2016

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TOCA Membership Renewal for 2016

Having reached our 2015 membership goals of 250 members, TOCA will be emailing the 2016 Membership Renewal forms soon. The good news is we have been growing for the past five years and for that we say thanks to you. Now, more than ever, we need you to renew all of your members and maybe even increase your individuals within your company or organization. You can help us reach our goal and help TOCA grow.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It’s only $140 per year for the first member and $90 for the second and subsequent members. Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of membership.

Please note that again this year we have added an optional tax-deductible $15 contribution to membership dues for the TOCA Foundation. If you prefer not to contribute, please notify the TOCA office at 952-758-6340.

If there is more than one TOCA member in your company, one person from the group will receive the membership email. He/she should pass the Membership Application form to the other members in the company who want to renew their membership. Membership Applications can be found online at www.toca.org/membership.   Please return a Membership Application for each renewing member with your payment so we can keep track of each renewal. You may pay dues with a CHECK made payable to the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association.   Or you can pay ONLINE with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX) at www.toca.org.   Click on Membership. Click on Why Join TOCA? At the bottom of this page click on Join and Pay Online. To renew an existing membership, please log in to our members system by clicking on the line indicated. After logging in, you will see all the members from your company –OR- your individual name. You can update your contact information. If you are renewing with others in your company, your Group # will be listed here. And you can Renew Membership for 2016.

Your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.   We ask that you contact the TOCA office by December 31, 2015, with any changes to your contact information from last year so we can get the corrections into the online membership directory. All renewals for 2016 are due by the end of this year. We look forward to you renewing your membership. Please don't hesitate to call the TOCA office with questions about your membership. Send emails to: toca@gandgcomm.com

Den Gardner, Executive Director

Kristy Mach, Associate Director

Kendra Rasmussen, Membership Director

Barb Ulschmid, Event Planner/Assistant Director

P.O. Box 156, 605 Columbus Ave. S.

New Prague, MN 56071

Office: 952-758-6340   Fax: 952-758-5813

Email: toca@gandgcomm.com

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TOCA and Bayer Offer New Member Breakfast Reception at GIE + EXPO Meeting

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is again providing a breakfast reception at the GIE + EXPO in Louisville, KY.

Bayer sponsors the breakfast, with the room provided courtesy of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

For Whom: TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Friday, October 23, 2015

Where: Kentucky Exposition Center, Room C105

Time: 7:30 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. – Breakfast

8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Bayer Update

We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast. Whether or not you plan to attend, please RSVP. Any questions, contact Barb Ulschmid at 952-758-6340 or email to toca@gandgcomm.com. Thank you – see you in Louisville!

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 Running (from what?) Reporter

 By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent dan-gardner-sm

Last time we visited, I wrote “It’s a good day to get a run in!” I’m going to stick with that theme again. . . being healthy and fit is of utmost importance.   However, I’m going to concentrate this time more specifically: about running on a treadmill or other indoor apparatus or outside.

If you live (like I do) in a cold-weather winter state (MN), a treadmill is a wonderful option.   For those cold months (for those souls not ready to face below zero wind chills and slippery road surfaces), staying indoors for your workout is an excellent choice.

Some things to know: a. If you place your treadmill at a 1 percent grade, scientific research (accomplished by others way over my pay grade) supports the idea that it simulates outdoor running; b. Bio-mechanical patterns do not change when test subjects run on a treadmill vs. running outside; c. When the elements and roads are an issue, it is ALWAYS better to run inside.

Another common sense practice is to have liquids to keep refreshed – even when running inside.   And you know the “right” type of liquids we are talking about here. Running indoors can be somewhat boring, so watch some television (previously recorded or otherwise), catch up with a movie on DVD or Netflix or…, read a book, etc. while doing your workout.

You can be stimulated while doing your health a big favor. I hope these tips will help as colder weather approaches. Now, for those of you who live in warm climates – I hate you (but in a good way). Now, I’m off to Florida to play golf with brother Den.

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Calendar of Events | 2015-2016

FallPhoto2October 21-23, 2015 Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO) Kentucky Exposition Center Louisville, KY

October 21, 2015 TOCA Board Meeting -1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C110 Louisville, KY

October 23, 2015 TOCA Breakfast, Sponsored by Bayer - 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., Bayer Update - 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C105 Louisville, KY

November 12, 2015

New Member Lunch at the Irrigation Association Show – Long Beach, CA

Noon – 1:00 PM

December 31, 2015

TOCA Internship Host application deadline

January 18, 2016

TOCA International Half-Day Workshop/Seminar

British Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) at BIGGA

Harrogate, England

9:00 AM – Noon

February 8-11, 2016 Golf Industry Show

February 10, 2016: TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:00 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.                                                                                                                                     Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Room: Sapphire 410 San Diego, CA

February 29, 2016 TOCA Internship Student application deadline

March 1, 2016 – TOCA Scholarship application deadline – Plant Health Writer of the Year application deadline – TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year application deadline

March 7, 2016 TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline

April 1, 2016 TOCA International Communications Contest entries deadline

May 3-5, 2016 (Tues-Thurs) 27th annual TOCA Meeting Magnolia Hotels, Omaha, NE

 

 

TOCATalk – Summer 2015

 

 

 

 

Thank you for supporting the industry that supports our innovations. We take great pride in developing and bringing to market innovative solutions for weed, disease and insect control, which play an important role in everyday life.

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF.

____________________________________

From Fenway Park to Infamy…

GCSAA 2014 Board and Staff PhotosBy Scott Hollister
TOCA Board Chair

My first trip to a TOCA Annual Meeting came in 1999, a little more than a year after I had begun my career in the green industry. When my boss at the time, Ed Hiscock, asked me to join him in Boston for that year’s event, my response was a quick and emphatic “sure thing.”

I wish I could tell you that response came from a deep and unrelenting drive for pursuing knowledge and professional development in any way, shape or form. But truth be told, my primary motivation to attend at the time was, 1) I would get to go to Boston, a city I had visited only once before, and 2) I would get to tour Fenway Park.

And TOCA ’99 delivered on both of those fronts. We stayed in a hip downtown hotel that sat hard along the edge of the Charles River. I took a stroll along the Freedom Trail during my stay. I even got that insider’s tour of Fenway, complete with a peek inside the Green Monster and a chat with Fenway’s crusty longtime groundskeeper, Joe Mooney.

But that year’s annual meeting also delivered on a few other unexpected fronts. Even if I hadn’t necessarily been looking for it, the professional development opened my eyes to what a career in green industry communication could potentially offer. I made connections with others in this business that I still rely on to this day. And maybe most unexpectedly, I found a home in an organization that would play, and continues to play, a prominent role in my development as both a professional and as a person.

Jacqui RoundtableI thought of that trip often during the 2015 edition of TOCA’s Annual Meeting in Milwaukee this past May, because what the 70 attendees who gathered there experienced closely resembled what I went through in Boston, minus the date with Fenway Park. There were fantastic educational opportunities — it’s not often you get four hours to devour writing tips from a former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist such as Jacqui Banaszynski. There were unmatched networking opportunities, whether on the golf course at Brown Deer Park, on a tour of Miller Park or in the hotel bar to wind down an evening. And there was the opportunity to celebrate our industry and the excellent work that takes place in it every day during the annual awards banquet.

Through its 26 years, the TOCA Annual Meeting has become a significant mile marker for the Green Industry. It provides an opportunity to take stock of where we are as an industry, where we have been and where we are going. It gives us a chance to celebrate people such as Jose Milan and Steve Trusty, TOCA’s 2015 Hall of Fame inductees, professionals who have helped make our organization and our industry what it is today. It gives us a chance to recognize professionals such as Brian Horgan, Ph.D., and GCM’s Howard Richman, winners of TOCA’s Environmental Communicator of the Year and Plant Health Writer of the Year awards, respectively, for the contributions they have made to our industry.

And it gives us a chance to look forward to TOCA’s future, both at home and abroad, and to welcome the 22 members who made this Annual Meeting their first. If those first-timers’ experiences were anything like mine during that trip to Boson in 1999, I’m sure they have found in the TOCA Annual Meeting another valuable tool they can use to nurture their continued growth in the green industry, both personally and professionally.

And who knows? Maybe one of those newbies might someday become the president of the TOCA Board of Directors. If it can happen to me after my somewhat infamous beginnings in Boston, it can definitely happen to anyone.

To all, welcome aboard the TOCA train. It should be a great ride in 2015 and beyond.

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Made in Milwaukee – The 2015 TOCA Annual Meeting is in the Books as Organization Looks to Next 25 Years of Green Industry Communications

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

Well, we thought we were seeing the ghost of Chris Farley, but it turned out we really were seeing his spirit in the form of inspirational speaker Matt Foley (otherwise known as impersonator Matt Kissane). We had a Harley biker protecting our awards to keep out any unwanted purveyors of our quality Green Industry communications. Those on the Lakefront Brewery Tour Wednesday night swore they saw LaVerne and Shirley bottling beer and their friends Lenny and Squiggy waiting outside by the bus after TOCA’s evening dinner and reception.

As TOCA embarks on its next 25 years with the 26th annual meeting “Made in Milwaukee” now history, it’s time to reflect on the brilliant job done by the TOCA program committee who now can be called: “The TOCAites who made Milwaukee Famous!”

Thanks to Dave Harding and Lyle Orwig of Charleston Orwig; Sara Bojar and Alane Saphner of Bader Rutter; and Nicole Wagner and Jim Cutting and many others in the crew of EPIC Creative. The local support was second to none this year. We appreciate all the great work. TOCA is its members. You personify what’s great about this organization.

I still recall the words recently by Pat Jones about what TOCA means to him (and we hope many others: “The beautiful thing about TOCA is that it’s the one place that allows us to grow our relationships with each other without all the noise, distractions and deadlines we face every hour in our jobs. Most of us spend our days trying to educate and help readers and customers. TOCA allows us a chance to recharge our batteries, learn new things and become better people and better friends. That’s indispensible.”

Let’s get on to the highlights (not necessarily in chronological order):

  • Congrats to all the golfers at Brown Deer Golf Course. No one got hurt and everybody was a winner. First place went to the team of Joe Rogge, Lyle Orwig, Steve Castle and Den Gardner. They eagled the last hole to win by one stroke over the team of Dave Harding, Russ Warner, Fuzz martin and Brian Horgan. Thanks to Briggs & Stratton for its sponsorship.
  • The tour of Miller Park and the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory was well-received by the attendees.  Guided tours of each facility brought a special flavor to Miller Park Tourthe inner workings of two very different types of “green” spaces.
  • Recognition of Dr. Brian Horgan of the University of Minnesota for being selected the winner of TOCA’s Environmental Communicator of the Year Award, sponsored by Project EverGreen.  Previous winners have included: Mark Welterlen, Bill Love, Tim Doppel, Doug Fender, Allen James, Rod Dodson, Jeff Gullickson, Kevin Trotta, Helen Stone, Allied Golf Associations of Colorado, Drs. Larry Stowell/Wendy Gelernter, Christopher Gray, Anthony Williams, Dr. Frank Rossi, Phil Fogarty, and Dr. Brandon Horvath.  (LINK)
  • Recognition of Howard Richman of Golf Course Management magazine for being named the Plant Health Writer of the Year, sponsored by Bayer. This was the third year of this program. Larry Aylward of Moose River Media and Dr. Karl Danneberger of Golfdom magazine are previous winners. (LINK)
  • Welcome and recognition of Jenna Hay of Texas Tech University for being selected our TOCA scholarship winner. She was provided a $2,500 scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year. “This was an incredible learning experience,” Hay said.
  • Keynote speaker Jacqui Banaszynski of the Poynter Institute and the University of Missouri energized the crowd with her presentation on “creating writing for b-b audiences.” Remarked TOCA member McGavock Edwards: “She was one of the best speakers we’ve ever had at TOCA.” Many agreed.
  • A new workshop at the TOCA meeting each year will focus on local issues involving the Green Industry. Thanks to Chris Kujawa, president KEI Landscaping; Bryan Bergner, Westmoor Country Club; Linda Beattie, Schiller Grounds Care; and Roger Blair, Jasperson Sod Farm, for their insight on the future of the green industry – from a local perspective.
  • For the second year, a series of roundtables on pertinent communications issues was presented. Thanks to Banaszynski, creative writing; Jones on social media metrics; and Anna Baxter Kirk of Bader Rutter on agile marketing feedback loops. Each 30-minute session was well attended as members moved from one table to another during the 90-minute format.
  • TOCA members also took one hour to attend organization committee meetings to better understand the “from the ground up” philosophy of TOCA through its various committees.
  • To close out professional development, horticulturalist and media personality Melinda Myers focused on enlightening members how to better understand consumer perceptions of the Green Industry.”
  • The afternoon program on Thursday concluded with the business meeting


Highlights of Major Activities by the TOCA Board Include:

  • Debbie Clayton was named TOCA Volunteer of the Year. Debbie’s tireless efforts in professional development and information through TOCA Talk was recognized, along with her decades of work for the organization. Lacy Ravencraft received the first award of this type last year.
  • Membership continues to be a major effort. The goal is 250 members by the TOCA meeting in Milwaukee was reached as the number was 253 and growing. TOCA has grown from 170 members in 2012. Thanks to all those who assisted in membership recruitment. The new membership committee of Patty DiMucci, Russ Warner, Linda Beattie, Jake Yarbrough, Fuzz Martin, Jose Milan and Steve Castle (international) is geared toward reaching a goal of 250 members by May of 2019.
  • Election and re-election of the board. They include the following: Scott Hollister, TOCA Board Shot 2015president; OPEN position, vice president; Jason Schmaderer, past president; and directors Marisa Palmieri, Patty Dimucci, Larry Aylward, Linda Beattie, Russ Warner, Brian Schoenthaler, Debbie Clayton, Cindy Code, Mark LaFleur, Felicia Gillham and John Reitman. New board members are Adam Slick and Fuzz Martin.
  • TOCA’s annual revenue for 2015 will be about $113,000 and expenses approximately $112,000. In addition, TOCA maintains a healthy investment portfolio of approximately $89,000.
  • The TOCA writing, photography, design and new media contests had 396 entries (down from 425 entries the previous year). The program was still the third largest in TOCA’s history.
  • The TOCA communications contest also went entirely online with entries, judging etc. This was accomplished predominantly through Kristy Mach’s efforts, with support from Barb Ulschmid.
  • The GCSAA Breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in 2016 will be in San Diego Wednesday, Feb. 10.
  • The Green Industry and Equipment Expo breakfast reception is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 23, 7:30 a.m., in Louisville. Bayer is the sponsor of this breakfast.
  • The 2016 meeting will be May 3-5 in Omaha. For 2017, staff is investigating St. Petersburg, Denver and Austin.
  • New media activities will continue to be enhanced in 2015 and beyond. Facebook actions will be more timely and efforts will continue to make Twitter more prominent.
  • The board agreed to continue its contribution to Project EverGreen, at the $2,500 level. This national alliance of end-user associations, companies and Green Industry suppliers educates and inform consumers about the benefits of well-maintained green spaces. TOCA publications and agencies are active in this 501c3 non-profit. Project EverGreen sponsors TOCA’s annual Environmental Communicator of the Year award program.
  • The new TOCA Foundation (a proposed 501c3 public foundation) was active in 2015. Among its activities were:
  1. Revenues and expenses of approximately $22,000.
  2. Full funding of the publishers’ scholarship program and the naming of Jenna Hay as the 2015 recipient of the $2,500 scholarship.
  3. The intern is Melanie Krawczyk from Illinois State in Normal, IL. She is interning with Total Landscape Care magazine this summer.
  4. As noted earlier, Dr. Brian Horgan of the University of Minnesota was named Environmental Communicator of the Year.
  5. Also noted earlier, Howard Richman of Golf Course Management magazine was named Plant Health Writer of the Year.
  6. The foundation will continue receiving a $15 voluntary contribution from membership renewals in TOCA. No member declined a contribution to the foundation.
  • The International TOCA chapter initiative had great success in 2015. Among its activities were:
  1. A workshop at the BIGGA show in January in England got the international efforts underway, with staffer Kristy Mach joining Scott Hollister, Chuck Bowen and Jason Schmaderer in executing a half-day workshop. Then, those TOCA folks worked the trade show. The result: eight members of TOCA.
  2. The international communications contest had about 30 entries – the most ever.
  3. The TOCA foundation provided a grant so Steve Castle from BIGGA could attend from England as a lead person on the international TOCA efforts.
  4. Subsequent to the TOCA meeting, other details have been determined: TOCA will be at BIGGA again in January 2016; and organization will investigate a stand-alone TOCA professional development/membership meeting in early September 2016. Many details to be rolled out during the rest of 2015.

Awards Banquet

To close out the 2015 meeting, the Awards Banquet featured:

  • Installation of two new TOCA Hall of Fame inductees: Jose Milan and Steve Trusty. Those two join Jerry Roche, Cindy Code, Pat Jones, Owen Towne, Bob Tracinski, Margaret Bell and Den Gardner in the hall of fame.
  • The communications award event – thanks to the EPIC Creative team  -- was another raucous affair.
  • AWARD WINNERS
  • INTERNATIONAL WINNERS
  • GARDNER AWARD WINNERS

 The TOCA board also commended Barb and Kristy for their tremendous work on logistics and audio visual creativity for the meeting. Also, evil twin Dan Gardner was recognized for assisting with logistics for most of the organization’s 26 years.

TOCA thanks all of its sponsors for making the meeting possible. We look forward to a great meeting in Omaha in 2016 – hosted by Steve and Suz Trusty. Please let the staff know how else we can serve you in making TOCA your organization. Thanks for the privilege of serving you.

 

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The passing of a beloved TOCA Member

It’s with great sadness that we announce the death of Matt Shooner, a long-time Matt ShoonerGreen Industry communicator and TOCA member. Son Joe, Matt and wife/mom Irene have been staples in TOCA and Project EverGreen (which I was fortunate enough to manage for eight years and work closely with TOCA) for a long, long time.

To me, Matt was the consummate professional and friend. He was a great communicator with a gravelly voice and one who probably should have been in radio. As a great comedian once said (and I think Matt would agree): “He had a great face for radio had he chosen that profession.”

When I first began working with Matt for Project EverGreen, we were just two “old” guys trying to figure out how Focal Point could help it get off the ground with that youngster son Joe at the head of the table with his ideas on web site communications and new media. It was pro bono in those early days as Matt saw a vision for Project EverGreen (and TOCA for that matter). He wanted to be part of it and, as you all know me, I was eager to tap into his company’s strengths (for the right price). Matt’s probably laughing about that right now. “You want us to do that for free?” he asked back in the early days. “Not a problem,” he said.

What really made us connect, however, were two important and most favorite things of my life: cookies and music. When I’d come home from GIE+EXPO each year, there wouldn’t be a hug from my wife Sandy. The first thing she’d say is: “Where are the Shooner cookies?” The second thing she’d say was: “What new music were they talking about? Does Joe have some new artists he’s watching closely?”

This Green Industry is about friendships, both professionally and personally. We’re gonna miss ya Matt. But there is some good news in the sadness. My dearly departed dad (almost 13 years now) loved chocolate chip cookies and gave me my love for green spaces with his miraculous lawn and landscape on our farm (thanks to all the work his two sons put in the yard each week growing up). He’s probably been waiting for Matt’s cookies and discussions about shrubs, grass and ball fields for a long time. Well dad, your wait is over. Look for the guy with the cookies and a hankering to talk about green!

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 TOCA Across the Pond – International Update

 Editor’s Note: This issue begins a new column in TOCA Talk that will deal with our international efforts to create a chapter in Europe. TOCA currently has about 10 members in Europe since it began its efforts about six months ago. It hopes to double its size in 2015-2016 and hold a stand-alone two-day professional development meeting in late summer, early fall 2016 in a central England location convenient to current and prospect members. This first effort is being led by Steve Castle, communications executive for the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA). TOCA will again have a presence at the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate in January. Steve recently attended the TOCA annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wis., through a grant provided by the TOCA Foundation.

Steve CastleBy Steve Castle

Communications Executive for the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)

And it all began in a North Yorkshire postroom.

Little did I know that when I was invited to join a conference call twelve months ago, it would lead to my first visit to the United States, one of the most enjoyable weeks of my 34 years and a real desire to boost industry relationships across the pond.

BIGGA Head Office was particularly busy that day, so my colleague Sami Strutt and I found a spare telephone in our ‘postroom’ where I spoke to Den and Kristy about TOCA.

Fast forward to January and our flagship show – The BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate – and I met the TOCA guys for the first time during their Monday morning seminar programme. Just hours later, quite apart from the enlightening and thought-provoking seminars and proudly becoming a TOCA member, I felt I had made several new friends.

As the dust settled after another busy show, it began to dawn on me that the UK does not boast an equivalent organisation to TOCA. Our education programme at Harrogate (called ‘Continue to Learn’) furthers the continuing professional development of our greenkeeper members on an unimaginably wide range of subjects from ecology to neurolinguistic programming, soil analysis to people management and health and safety to beekeeping. Yet no such programme exists for the small yet well-established band of turf industry communicators in the UK.

Therefore, it seemed that TOCA may be the answer, and following TOCA’s wonderful invitation to attend their 26th Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, I became convinced this was indeed the case. After an unforgettable week of unrivalled warmth and hospitality, marvellous speakers (in particular the captivating Jacqui Banaszynski), passionate debates, hugely inconsistent golf and inedible cheese at the baseball game, it all began to make sense.

Just like TOCA, BIGGA is first and foremost a “Members’ Association,” and retaining then recruiting members remains our principle goal. It was fascinating to see TOCA’s strategy for addressing this, and humbling to realise that hopefully, I will be able to play a small part in it.

Following the varied discussions in Milwaukee, and a couple of subsequent chats, plans are underway to host another series of TOCA seminars on Monday 18 January at BTME (www.btme.org.uk). My colleagues in the turf media, and the various public relations and communications professionals who work for many of our closely valued industry partners, need to attend this programme. One morning with the TOCA representatives will be enough to convince them of the value of becoming a member of such a unique (unless anyone can tell me otherwise) organisation.

This should lead to the creation of an exciting new chapter not only in TOCA’s history, but in the turf industry.

Foursome at GolfAll that remains is for me to thank everyone at TOCA for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to head to the States, to all the Delegates for their good humour and fascinating views…and to Lyle Orwig for rescuing our fourball with some terrific golf!

Watch this space for more on TOCA’s international phase…

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Jose Milan and Steve Trusty Inducted into TOCA Hall of Fame
 

By Kristy Mach

Jose Milan and Steve Trusty, two long-time active and prominent members of TOCA, were inducted into the TOCA Hall of Fame at the annual meeting in Milwaukee. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to promote TOCA’s most outstanding past and present members, amplify and enhance its ideals; advance the professional standards that TOCA champions; as well as to preserve the historic achievements that TOCA members have accomplished.  The two honorees exemplify those principles.

IMG_0960Jose Milan is the head of business operations, turf and ornamentals for Bayer CropScience.  He has been a member of TOCA since its birth in 1990, and continues to be an ardent supporter of the association.  Jose was a board member for the first seven years, serving as vice president.  Throughout his career, Jose has been a leading proponent of professional development for TOCA and been at the forefront of maintaining financial support through sponsorships to TOCA.

TOCA Executive Director Den Gardner said “Jose has been the best kind of friend to TOCA. He is the true example of what it means to be part of a non-profit, giving his time, talent and treasure to make TOCA better every day. As a decades-long friend, Jose’s elevation to our hall of fame is also tremendously gratifying.”

Steve Trusty prides himself on only missing two TOCA annual meetings.  The first, he says, “because Jose didn’t tell him about it.”  The second was due to a family obligation.  Steve has been a member of TOCA since 1991 and has served the board of directors for many years, including a two-year term as board chair.  He has also served as a membership coordinator, recruiting many new members to the organization.

Steve’s career in the green industry spans four decades, and he continues to IMG_0957promote TOCA at every turn.  He and his wife, Suz, are excited to play host to the 2016 annual meeting in Omaha, near their hometown of Council Bluffs, IA.  “Steve has wanted to host a meeting in his home area for more than a decade, Gardner says. “The point: He had a dream and worked until it became a reality.  Persistence pays and it’s been a hallmark of his career.”

Jose and Steve join Bob Tracinski, Owen Towne, Margaret Bell, Den Gardner, Cindy Code, Pat Jones and Jerry Roche in the Hall of Fame.

The next selection of TOCA Hall of Fame recipients will be at the annual TOCA awards banquet, May 2016, in Omaha. For more information, contact the TOCA office at: toca@gandgcomm.com or 952/758-6340.

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Horgan Named TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year

Dr. Brian Horgan, turfgrass professor at the University of Minnesota, accepts the Environmental Communicator of the Year award from Cindy Code, Project EverGreen.

Dr. Brian Horgan, department of horticultural services at the University of Minnesota, has been named the 2015 Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) Environmental Communicator of the Year.

IMG_0435Horgan was named at the annual TOCA conference held in early May in Milwaukee. The program, sponsored by Project EverGreen is in its 17th year of recognizing individuals in the Green Industry for outstanding communications efforts regarding environmental issues.

“Brian, through his daily work with students and industry stakeholders in the industry, epitomizes this award,” said Den Gardner, executive director of TOCA. “His commitment to environmental communications to consumers across the country and beyond helps spread the word on the importance of preserving turf and ornamentals for generations to come.”

Horgan’s research interests focus on the fate and transport of pesticides and nutrients, water conservation strategies and low-input turfgrass systems. He also was the impetus behind the creation and development of TROE Center (Turfgrass Research, Outreach and Education) research facility on the U of M St. Paul campus and a new initiative referred to as “Science of the Green.”

Horgan said he was honored by the award. “I feel blessed to work in such a wonderful industry.  I truly have the best job in the world.”

Horgan was nominated for the award by Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Brian has extremely good insight on the benefits of green spaces,” Code said. “Through his work at Minnesota and through various industry speaking opportunities, he shares research with audiences nationwide and communicates the environmental benefits of turf, trees, shrubs, sports turf and so on in an intelligent and meaningful way. He’s a true ambassador for the green industry.”

Previous winners have included: Mark Welterlen, Bill Love, Tim Doppel, Doug Fender, Allen James, Rod Dodson, Jeff Gullickson, Kevin Trotta, Helen Stone, Allied Golf Associations of Colorado, Drs. Larry Stowell/Wendy Gelernter, Christopher Gray, Anthony Williams, Dr. Frank Rossi, Phil Fogarty and Dr. Brandon Horvath.

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Richman Chosen Third TOCA Plant Health Writer of the Year

Howard Richman (center) is honored with the 2015 Plant Health Writer of the Year Award. Scott Hollister, Editor-in-Chief of GCM Magazine, and Patty DiMucci of Bayer present the award.

Howard Richman, associate editor of Golf Course Management (GCM) magazine, has been named the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) Plant Health Writer of the Year. This is the third year of this program.

Howard Richman (center) is honored with the 2015 Plant Health Writer of the Year Award.  Scott Hollister, Editor-in-Chief of GCM Magazine, and Patty DiMucci of Bayer present the award.

Howard Richman (center) is honored with the 2015 Plant Health Writer of the Year Award. Scott Hollister, Editor-in-Chief of GCM Magazine, and Patty DiMucci of Bayer present the award.

Sponsored by Bayer, the program is provided annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including New Media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

Richman, a graduate of Kansas State University, has spent the past couple years delving into the important arena of plant health. From his signature piece – “The dirt on plant health,” a definitive piece on plant health – to his focus on the aftermath of the environmental concerns from Imprelis herbicide on trees on golf courses, Richman has focused on plant health in much of his writing.

A sportswriter for nearly two decades before arriving at GCM, Richman’s article on plant health was called “the most informative and comprehensive publication covering many aspects of plant health from various perspectives…” by Dr. Bingru Huang of Rutgers. “This article does not only clarify our understanding of the plant health concept, but also the long impact on golf turf management for superintendents to develop sustainable practices utilizing this concept.”

Scott Hollister, editor-in-chief of GCM and TOCA board chair, called Richman a “writer of unquestioned talent who leaves few stones unturned in his preparation -- with sourcing that is unequaled in our industry.”

Richman said after the presentation that he was humbled by the award. "I am honored to be recognized for this award. There are so many wonderful and talented people in this industry, and each and every one of them has been a help and inspiration for me."

A stipend of $1,000 was provided to Richman to be used for professional development in the green industry. He was selected by a committee chosen by the TOCA Board of Directors.

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Jenna Hay

Subject: One Gigantic Thank You

Den,

Thank you so much for such an awesome time at TOCA's annual meeting! Getting to know everyone was so neat - talking about their accomplishments, sharing viewpoints on the turf industry, and joking around during the tours made this trip so incredibly worth it. And it is all because of you, Barb, Steve, and others who believed me to be worthy of your scholarship. I am honored to be a part of this organization!

The 5k was a lot of fun, and I am glad I was able to balance both the run and getting to the airport on time. Great idea!

I hope the photos I took are usable. Do not feel obligated on using any!

Travel safe today and please keep in touch. You are all my friends now and I want to know how TOCA does in the future.

Thank you again.

Cheers,

Jenna Hay

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TOCA Communications Contest

For an complete listing of ALL the TOCA Award Winners, click here.

Domestic Awards International Awards

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A Brand New Batch of Gardner Award Winners!

 (In each issue of TOCA Talk, the Professional Development committee features several current Gardner Award winners.)

 First, we have a Q&A with McGavock Edwards, vice president at IMRE, about the IMRE JD AwardIMRE/John Deere win for New Media -- Marketing Communications "2014 Golf Industry Show Turf Bowl Tweet Rally."

 How would you describe your winning project?

At the 2014 GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl, teams of students from 71 universities and colleges across the nation competed for the chance to win a cash prize for their school’s turf program, and first place bragging rights. GCSAA and John Deere announced the team from University of Maryland as the 2014 winners of this challenge. John Deere and the GCSAA awarded the team the traveling trophy and $4,000 first-place prize.

Leading up to GIS, a “Tweet Rally” was added to generate excitement and engagement around the GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl. Competing teams were invited to share Tweets to show support for their school’s team by including the #GIS14_TurfBowl hashtag and mention of their school’s name.

Each tweet counted as a vote, and the team with the most votes, which was Michigan State University, was awarded a $650 check for displaying their school spirit. Participating teams shared the hashtag with their alumni and peers, and key industry influencers and members showed their support for the future superintendents by tweeting as well. The campaign saw strong viral use of Turf Bowl content with more than 1,000 unique tweets published using the #GIS14_TurfBowl hashtag.

 What was your strategy in developing this project?

Utilize social media and school spirit to engage industry professionals, elevating TurfBowlawareness about the Collegiate Turf Bowl and John Deere’s sponsorship of the program.

 What were your results?

The campaign created strong viral use of Turf Bowl content and fostered positive conversation and support of the Turf Bowl among student participants, media, peers and key industry influencers. It was successful enough to warrant a second Tweet Rally in 2015.

What surprised you most about the outcome?

 We knew superintendents were increasingly using Twitter and that they are a competitive bunch, so we really weren’t surprised by the results of the Tweet Rally. Rather, we were pleased the program was so well received, and that the students were able to get more recognition from the industry they’re entering.

 What do you think helped you win this year?

Originality. Preparation. Results.

We believe the Turf Bowl Tweet Rally is the first of its kind for the golf industry, so its likely that originality played into its success. The Tweet Rally was thoughtfully planned and executed by an integrated team, originally built from research insights into our target audience. And, because we created goals and metrics in our planning, we were able to show measurable results at the end of the program.

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Next up, Seth Jones, of North Coast Media, answered a few questions about Golfdom's Gardner Award for New Media - Publishing for "The Golfdom Daily."Seth Mark Gardner Award

 Could you please describe your winning project?

 The Golfdom Daily is our blog. It used to be updated daily, now we only promise to update it “regularly” but don’t worry, we won’t change the name to “The Golfdom Regular.”

How did you come up with the idea for this project?

 I enjoyed blogging at my previous position with Golf Course Management magazine. When I came over to Golfdom, I wanted to keep doing it.

Blogging wasn’t a new idea by any means, but what I tried to bring to it was a voice, a personality, that I felt was unique to the industry. That voice was conversational -- a behind-the-scenes, not-quite-fit-for-print method of storytelling.

It’s worked for us. Besides winning a first place TOCA for the Golfdom Daily for the fourth year in a row now, we’ve also developed a decent readership. Among the cacophony that is the Internet and the blogosphere, I’ll take that.

Golfdom DailyHow did you measure your results?

 It’s easy with the blog – hits, clicks. We can easily tell what posts do well, and what posts get crickets chirping.

What do you think factored into your success with this endeavor?

I think the voice of Golfdom’s blog is unique. It’s almost a family blog in the sense that we’re including our readers in behind-the-scenes stuff that we don’t have room for in the magazine. It might not be breaking news, heck, it might just be a beer review… but we treat the readers like friends, and I think that among friends, it’s OK to just recommend a good beer from time to time. It doesn’t all have to be about saving the game.

 Any further thoughts about working on it?

 I wonder if blogs are “jumping the shark,” in a sense – do readers still find blogs worthy, or have they moved on to Instagram, or something else I don't even understand?

I can’t answer that question, but if the readers keep coming, we’ll keep blogging to the best of our abilities. I don’t mind saying that I enjoy looking at our own blog, going back and seeing where we visited, stories we told — stories that are still fun and interesting, just not quite good enough to make the magazine.

In some sense, those stories are my favorites.

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Finally, we sat down with Laura Ory, one of this year’s 2015 Gardner Award winners, for some insight on what went into a successful campaign. Laura Ory serves as social media & digital strategist for Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply.

Laura Ory Mark LaFleur

Ory receives a Gardner Award (presented by Mark LaFleur) at the 2015 TOCA Annual Conference in Milwaukee, WI.

  • Gardner Award Winner: Laura Ory, Social Media & Digital Strategist for Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply.
  • Category/Project: 2014 Smart Irrigation Month Campaign Emails and Video Script

Here’s what she had to say:

Could you please briefly describe your winning project?

This writing project was a series of six weekly emails and four new video scripts for our Smart Irrigation Month campaign in June and July of 2014.

What were your key objectives and strategies in approaching this work? What influenced your approach?

Our key objectives were to promote the products in our Smart Irrigation Month specials, and to give our contractor customers simple and memorable explanations of how they save water, since many of these products are still new to them. We also wanted to promote our sales tools to help them convince clients to installing these products.

The teaser video and email was sent out a few weeks before July to generate interest in the specials and to allow them time to use our free smart irrigation sales tools to entice their clients.

Our intro video and email revealed our specials, and how they were a smart way to save money and water.

For the final four weeks, our emails and videos focused more in-depth on the product types each week: smart controllers, sensors, water-efficient sprinklers, and drip irrigation and AquaSmart PRO.

The emails paragraphs were kept short for easy skimming, but links to the corresponding videos were provided at the top for customers more interested in watching a video.

What was your favorite part of the project?

We happened to have some old-school irrigation controllers in the office some of us were marveling at nearby when we were working on video concepts, and it inspired us to include them in a video. They were great to contrast with the smart irrigation technology that’s available today and hopefully helped some customers realize that it’s time to upgrade!

Give us ExamplesPlease give us a few examples of what you think stood out in your winning entry.

The “We can’t show you this!” email and video that kicked off the series was a lot of fun. We teased the customers with pixilated products before revealing the smart irrigation specials in the next video. I think Warren made it pretty amusing on camera. It’s tough to make a really funny video, but I think it made people at least smile a bit.

Emails and VideosFor the emails and videos on smart controllers and sensors, we used some analogies to help explain what these products do in a more memorable way:

“A smart controller isn’t just a timer or clock…it’s the brain for your irrigation system that helps save water: about 30 percent compared to traditional controllers.”

“A sensor is like a thermostat for your landscape – it collectsa sensor data on site and tells your irrigation controller whether irrigation is needed. Sensors accurately and automatically adjust your irrigation schedule to save water, and can reduce water use by 10 to 60 percent.”

 

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Editor's Note:  Each month, the TOCA Professional Development Committee profiles a TOCA Member -- the stories live on under the Members Tab of the TOCA Website.

Fuzz MartinMeet Fuzz!

Getting to know the board member with the most unique nickname, Fuzz Martin.

By: Kyle Brown, GIE Media

What do you do at EPIC Creative?

As the director of PR and social media at EPIC Creative, I'm in charge of all things content related. I direct a team of 15 copywriters, PR managers, and social community managers, as well as the media department.

What made you decide to join the TOCA board?

Board member Linda Beattie made a very compelling argument as to why I should join the board. She's pretty hard to say "no" to, though it didn't take much arm twisting. I'm proud and honored to be a member of the board. TOCA is an important part of the turf industry, and I will do my best to make sure others – especially industry newcomers – are aware of this tremendous resource.

How did you originally get involved in the turf industry?

My first job in the turf industry came at 13 years old as a lawn maintenance operator for Achtenhagen Services in Muskego, Wis. I worked there in some capacity every summer and winter (snow removal) until I was 21. The business side of the industry fascinated me and really helped develop my entrepreneurial skills. It's also where I earned the name "Fuzz."

How did you come by your nickname, anyway?

I have a really big head. So, at age 13, in order for my football helmet to fit, I would regularly shave all my hair off with a clippers. One day, after practice, I was at work running a Scag hydro walk-behind. Usually, I could run right over the top of city water/utility caps without any problem, but one day we were running the mowers a bit shorter. I ended up hitting a water cap and shooting a metal chunk through our client's neighbor's siding. I shut off the mower and my foreman shouted from the truck, "FUZZY! GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE!" My friends overheard him, and it stuck. After that, I used "Fuzz" pretty much all of the time - including 15 years on the radio. "Fuzz" is a lot easier to remember than "Mike."

What do you do for fun?

I'm really big into cycling. I participate in century rides (100 miles) each year, and we live near Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine State Forest, which is great for mountain biking. Most of my time away from the office, however, is spent with my wife and two daughters. That and making sure I have the best looking lawn in the neighborhood — our retired neighbors put up a good fight, so I have to stay on top of my game.

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THE LOVE OF RUNNING AND TOCA

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

It’s a good day to get a run in!!  That should be your attitude if you want to be healthy and fit.  Of course you will certainly need the approval of your physician (especially if you’re an “old” runner) . . . but that is simply a phone call away.Runners Group

Here are some tips for those of you interested in starting a running regiment and becoming an official member of the TOCA Running Club.

  1. When buying running shoes, take advantage of expert sales personnel at a sporting goods store.  The rest of your clothes should be breathable material – like cotton.  Women should consider buying a sports bra – a good one reduces breast movement by 55% (that’s what my wife tells me . . .).
  2. Do a five-minute walk before and after you run. Regarding stretching before or after, the evidence is mixed. Use your own discretion.
  3. For recreational runners, avoid striking the ground with your heel or forefoot first. Landing on the middle of your foot is the safest way to land.
  4. You want blood to be in your muscles (not in your digestive system). Therefore, avoid a large meal within two hours of your run.  Take along a water bottle while running – if you get thirsty, drink – just not too much.
  5. Keep on a regular schedule. That doesn’t mean you have to run EVERY day . . . but certainly often enough to keep committed.  I hope these tips will lead to a successful running system.

Finally, be thinking while you run about all the ways to make TOCA the best membership association it can be and how YOU can play a part in making TOCA the best it can be. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

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 Calendar of Events

 

 

Calendar of Events | 2015

October 21-23, 2015

Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO)
Kentucky Exposition Center
Louisville, KY

October 21, 2015
TOCA Board Meeting – 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Louisville Marriott Downtown, Room: TBD
Louisville, KY

October 23, 2015
TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m., Bayer Media Conference – 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C105
Louisville, KY

November 12, 2015
Irrigation Association Lunch - Noon
Long Beach Convention Center - Room: TBD
Long Beach, CA

January 18, 2016 - TOCA at BIGGA
BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition 
BTME show runs January 19-21
Harrogate, England


May 3-5, 2016 (Tues-Thurs)
27th annual TOCA Meeting
Magnolia Hotels, Omaha, NE

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New TOCA Members – Welcome!

Sarah Ellen Baker, Archer Malmo
Scott Covelli, EPIC Creative
Marcia Gruver-Doyle, Randall Reilly Publishing
Kimberly Huston, PadillaCRT
Danielle Lanning, Moose River Media
Amy Leonardi, Jacobsen
Timmothy Merath, EPIC Creative
Amy Perkins, GIE+Expo
David Rountree, Randall Reilly Publishing
Natalie Zamanksy, Martin Williams

 

 

 

 

The passing of a beloved TOCA Member, Matt Shooner

The passing of a beloved TOCA Member

It’s with great sadness that we announce the death of Matt Shooner, a long-time Green Industry communicator and TOCA member. Son Joe, Matt and wife/mom Irene have been staples in TOCA and Project EverGreen (which I was fortunate enough to manage for eight years and work closely with TOCA) for a long, long time.

To me, Matt was the consummate professional and friend. He was a great communicator with a gravelly voice and one who probably should have been in radio. As a great comedian once said (and I think Matt would agree): “He had a great face for radio had he chosen that profession.”

When I first began working with Matt for Project EverGreen, we were just two “old” guys trying to figure out how Focal Point could help it get off the ground with that youngster son Joe at the head of the table with his ideas on web site communications and new media. It was pro bono in those early days as Matt saw a vision for Project EverGreen (and TOCA for that matter). He wanted to be part of it and, as you all know me, I was eager to tap into his company’s strengths (for the right price). Matt’s probably laughing about that right now. “You want us to do that for free?” he asked back in the early days. “Not a problem,” he said.

What really made us connect, however, were two important and most favorite things of my life: cookies and music. When I’d come home from GIE+EXPO each year, there wouldn’t be a hug from my wife Sandy. The first thing she’d say is: “Where are the Shooner cookies?” The second thing she’d say was: “What new music were they talking about? Does Joe have some new artists he’s watching closely?”

This Green Industry is about friendships, both professionally and personally. We’re gonna miss ya Matt. But there is some good news in the sadness. My dearly departed dad (almost 13 years now) loved chocolate chip cookies and gave me my love for green spaces with his miraculous lawn and landscape on our farm (thanks to all the work his two sons put in the yard each week growing up). He’s probably been waiting for Matt’s cookies and discussions about shrubs, grass and ball fields for a long time. Well dad, your wait is over. Look for the guy with the cookies and a hankering to talk about green!

~Den Gardner, Executive Director

Funeral services will be held in Cincinnati on May 30. Additional inquiries can be directed to Joe Shooner (joeshooner@growpro.com).

Full Press Release: Click Here

TOCATalk – Spring 2015

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF.

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What’s the Value? JasonSchmadererPhoto.web

By Jason Schmaderer VP / Account Supervisor, Swanson Russell
President, TOCA Board of Directors

If your work routine looks anything like mine, you dedicate a noticeable portion of your time each week to professional development or some type of industry support. We’re all familiar with—or actively engaged in—local chapters of marketing organizations such as NAMA, PRSA, AMA or AAF or others in an effort to connect and grow.

Our employers allow us to spend time and money doing this because they understand there’s something in it for them. Whether it’s professional growth, relationship building, business development, recruitment or other reasons, our involvement is an investment that probably comes with an expectation of positive return.

So, I ask: what’s the positive return from your commitment to TOCA?

As a long-time member, I’ve had some time to give this some thought. I’ve also been asked a few times to clarify the value. I suspect that if I asked every member of the association, I’d probably hear something a little different. That’s OK. We’re all at different places in our careers and we have slightly different reasons for joining TOCA.

As I finish out my term as president, it’s become clear to me that the most critical thing we can do as an organization is to focus on providing value. I happen to think we’re doing a pretty good job but I’m not ready to tell you we’re perfect. What I can promise you though, is that we’re ready to do more. If you have an idea or a perspective that could help us to provide more value for you or other members, we want to hear about it. And then, we want you to help us make it happen.

If you’re communicator working in the green industry, you need to recognize that participation in TOCA is essential. We’re getting there, and I’m confident as I pass the torch into the capable hands of Mr. Scott Hollister, we will continue to look for ways to help our members do their jobs better, understand the industry in a deeper way and have some fun along the way.

Thank you for the opportunity you’ve provided me to serve as president the last several years. I look forward to seeing all of you at the annual meeting in Milwaukee and celebrating a little TOCA value.

Sincerely,
Jason Schmaderer

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 Meeting Logo

 

 

 

 26th Annual TOCA Meeting – “Made In Milwaukee”

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

Cheeseheads here we come! OK, it’s a little trite to categorize all from Wisconsin as cheeseheads, but between certain TOCA staff from Wisconsin and all our TOCA members from that great state, it’s a natural. Say, did you hear this one: What's the most popular American cheese sitcom? Curd Your Enthusiasm.

But I digress. I’m supposed to be promoting our 26th annual TOCA meeting in Milwaukee May 5-7. You know, the one where there’s professional development, award presentations, networking and so much more besides. It’s TOCA’s start of its next quarter-century of activity for the Green Industry.

So, take a moment, close your eyes, and know that our volunteer committee is going to make this year’s meeting and its theme: “Made in Milwaukee” an unforgettable three days of brats, beers, cheese and so much more. Milwaukee is our 26th different city for a TOCA annual meeting and you’re all invited.

The agenda is at the end of this article. You can also see it at the TOCA web site: www.toca.org. We are continuing with the revised format we started last year to provide more professional development, more variety of workshops, more reasons for you to attend the annual meeting.

Here are the highlights:

TUESDAY

  • Arrivals Tuesday during the day. Ad Hoc business meeting. (Board meets from Hotel Lobby2-5 p.m., followed by dinner.) Informal TOCA member gathering in the hotel is set for 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

Revised format first used last year again begins the program on Wednesday morning.

  • The program will include recognition of our student scholarship, Plant Health Writer of the Year and Environmental Communicator of the Year winners.
  • Future of the Green Industry panel. Leading Green Industry participants – Chris Kujawa, president of KIE, Inc., golf course superintendent Bryan Bergner, Linda Beattie of Schiller Grounds Care and Roger Blair of Jasperson Sod Farm will frankly discuss where the industry is heading as the economy continues to rebound.
  • Tour and golf Wednesday afternoon. Looking for a close-up grounds view of Miller ParkMiller Park? Or the land scaping and education efforts of green spaces at the world-famous Mitchell Park Conservancy – The Domes? Then sign up for the afternoon tour. If it’s golf you’re interested in, the championship Brown Deer Golf Course, one of the premier golf courses in the city of Milwaukee, has been booked. Details will be available soon.Brown Deer Golf Course
  • The opening night reception. The off-site reception will be held at the scenic Lakefront Brewery.

THURSDAY

  • The Second Annual TOCA Three-Mile Run for Fun (and we do mean fun) is scheduled for early morning. Route details are on the web site.
  • New Insights into Creative Writing for Business-Business Publications. Pulitzer-prize winning writer Jacqui Banaszynski, Poynter Institute and University of Missouri School of Journalism Knight Chair, will inform and educate our members about new ways to write creatively for our publications and for company newsletters and other publications.  
  • Breakout Sessions. Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Talk Amongst Yourselves -- Best Practices Roundtable Discussions return for year two. There will be three roundtables and you can choose two during two, 45-minute sessions. (Roundtable leaders will be Banaszynski, continuing her theme from her earlier presentation; Pat Jones, publisher at GIE Media, social media metrics; and Anna Baxter Kirk, Bader-Rutter, agile marketing feedback loops)
  • Horticulturalist Melinda Myers on Consumer Perceptions. Nationally-syndicated speaker Melinda Myers will discuss consumer perceptions of the Green Industry and focus on better ways to communicate responsible use of products for the lawn and landscape industry to TOCA member readers and purchasers of products.
  • Something new – Break-out Sessions by TOCA Committees. Committees old and new will organize (with your help) to help set the direction for TOCA for the rest of 2015 and 2016.
  • Business Meeting concludes afternoon. Are you ready for excitement? The business meeting brings members up to date on all the activities of the organization, including the new foundation, our efforts to grow internationally in Great Britain and more.
  • Evening Awards Reception/Banquet. Learn about our communications contest winners and the TOCA Hall of Fame inductee.

Yes indeed: TOCA members are ready to be “Made in Milwaukee!” Thanks to our Downtown Milwaukeeannual program committee of volunteers -- Lyle Orwig, Dave Harding, Sara Bojar, Alane Saphner, Nicole Wagner and Jason DeSarle – for their excellent work.

Sign up for the 2015 TOCA meeting now!  Click here for registration form.

Click here to see the full meeting agenda.

 

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The Envelope, Please - 25th Annual TOCA Communications Contest

By Kristy Mach, Contest Administrator

Congratulations on making it through another season of entering the annual TOCA Communications Contest!  There were nearly 400 entries in the competition this year. Entries are heading to the judges and the TOCA Awards will be announced at our annual meeting in May.

Feedback, please.  This year we moved to an entirely online entry system, hosted by BetterBNC. Contestants have been providing feedback and so far it's been positive.  As our industry evolves, so should the contest.  Some have suggested new contest categories or enhancements to the process.  I want to hear from you.  Please email me with any suggestions to categories, the process, you name it.

Our goal is to make entering our contest as easy as ever.

10th Annual TOCA International Communications Contest

Now it's time for our International counterparts to shine.  We want to showcase the best of the best in the international arena.  Deadline for entries is April 1, 2015.  Unfortunately, the BetterBNC online system is not set up to receive the international entries, but that is an enhancement for the future.  Click here for categories and the entry process for the international contest.

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Illinois State Junior Ready for Internship at Total Landscape Care

Illinois State Junior Melanie Krawczyk has been chosen as the 2015 TOCA intern. She will be interning with Total Landscape Care (Randall Reilly) and reporting to company editor Marcia Gruver Doyle.

Melanie, originally from Poplar Grove, IL, has interned previously at a landscape company. Her goal, once that first communications job is obtained, is to communicate the benefits of community gardens in urban areas. "This internship will be a great opportunity for me to become a stronger, more confident writer," Melanie says. "In my previous internship I made slide shows of plants for customers and am ready to take bigger responsibilities."

The program is underwritten through the TOCA Foundation from Bayer.

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Gardner Award Winners Take a Bow

(This is continuation of the Professional Development Committee's goal to feature the Gardner Award winners each year. These will be the final Q&As with the 2014 winners. Next issue will spotlight 2015 winners!)

Lauren Heartsill DowdleFirst up, Debbie Clayton spoke to Lauren Heartsill Dowdle, winner of the Gardner Award for websites for TotalLandscapeCare.com.*

Could you please briefly describe your winning project?

The Total Landscape Care website, totallandscapecare.com, not only showcases magazine articles, but it also features blogs, news stories, giveaways, social media feeds and downloadable safety information.

What were your objectives and strategies in approaching this work? What influenced your approach?

We wanted the website to become a part of landscapers’ daily routines. So, we posted daily blogs, added our Twitter newsfeed, created a slider that featured the top daily story, wrote daily news stories and promoted contests (such as our Editor’s Picks Giveaway, Photo Contests, Pets We Dig, Landscaper’s Dream Package and Landscaper of the Year).

We also had a microsite that housed our Twitter chats and gave viewers the chance to download them and also reach out with questions. We wanted a site that made viewers want to come back again.

What do you think helped you win last year?

I think our site offered a ride range of information and was pushing the envelope within the green industry. Not only did we have magazine and news articles posted daily, we also had a blog and Twitter feed. To gain even more engagement, we had giveaways and an interactive Q&A social media page. The overall design also helped the site be more user-friendly.

Please give us a few examples of what you think stood out in your winning entry.

The daily aspects – blog, feature story, news articles and tweets – were the foundation of the site. But, I think the giveaways, photo contests, photo gallery, social media microsite and focus on viewer engagement made the site stand out. I also created a safety page where viewers could download PDFs of safety articles (in both English and Spanish).

I know your name is on the award, but who else should be recognized?

Patty Vaughan and Emily Ezekiel, along with our web support team, also helped make this a winning project.

*Update:

We won the award when I was the editor of Total Landscape Care magazine. Since then, I have left Total Landscape Care and am now the editor of a local consumer magazine. I also freelance for green-industry publications.

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 Cindy Cody

Next, Kyle Brown interviewed Cindy Code about her Gardner Award for new website redesign for Project EverGreen

Project EverGreen Award

What was the overall goal in mind for the site’s redesign? Who all was involved in planning?

We wanted to give the site a fresh look and really accentuate the programs and projects that are at the heart of Project EverGreen. We wanted to capture the passion that individuals have for green spaces and highlight the benefits that improve peoples’ lives, their communities and their interactions with one another.

What was the process like? Was there a lot of discussion as the work was done?

Sure, the site’s look and feel evolved over time. It was a collaborative effort with Joe Shooner at Focal Point Communications. Joe is the webmaster for Project EverGreen as well as a passionate contributor as a member of our advisory council. We were striving for a clean, friendly look that immediately articulated the key benefits of green spaces and the delight that maintained yards, parks and green spaces.

What’s your favorite part about the finished, redesigned page?

The addition of videos. Videos really tell our story very well. They bring the projects to life, reflect the transformation of our revitalization projects and capture the emotion passion our volunteers have for giving back to their communities and to our military personnel.

What was your process like in submitting the page to TOCA? What did you try to accentuate?

It was fairly painless. We tried to emphasize the new look and feel and everything that went into the new design. We’re passionate about green spaces and pleased it came through via our application and final design.

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TOCA Logo Hi Res

TOCA, FMC and GCSAA/Golf Course Management Magazine Offer New Member Breakfast Reception at Golf Industry Show (GIS) - Recap

An enthusiastic group of communicators attended the annual TOCA membership Jason GIS Breakfastbreakfast in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. Veteran TOCA members welcomed new members and prospects to a hearty breakfast before gearing up for a full day of interviews and meetings on the busy trade show floor. TOCA president Jason Schmaderer and president-elect Scott Hollister provided a membership update, plans for the annual meeting and a reminder to get their awards entries submitted via the new online application process. The breakfast was sponsored by FMC. Steve Fasano, marketing manager, and Jay Young, herbicide brand manager, for FMC Professional Solutions welcomed the members and thanked TOCA for providing a forum for professional communicators to collaborate.

GIS Breakfast GroupCindy Code, executive director, Project EverGreen, shared the non-profit’s plans to launch its Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.TM initiative in 50 locations this year.

The room for the breakfast was provided courtesy of GCSAA and Golf Course Management magazine. 

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Spring Flowers

Calendar of Events | 2015

April 1, 2015 TOCA International Communications Contest entries deadline

May 5-7, 2015 (Tues-Thurs) 26th annual TOCA Meeting Milwaukee Marriott Downtown Hotel Milwaukee, WI

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New TOCA Members – Welcome! 

Justin Armburger, GIE Media
Lori Blennert, Elle Alexander
Guy Cipriano, GIE Media
Jim Gilbride, GIE Media
Nicole Gladden, Global Prairie
Keith Higginbotham, Moose River Media
Timmothy Merath, EPIC Creative
Williesha Morris, Randall Reilly Publishing
Chris Mosby, GIE Media
Dawn Pelon, New Holland
Craig Smith, GCSAA
Russell Sypowicz, GCSAA

TOCA Talk – Winter 2015

"The Power Within" at GIS 

BASF offers disease control solutions that promote true plant health by working deep inside the plant at the root level. By strengthening the entire plant from the inside out, we help maximize turfgrass health and defend against nature’s worst.

Join BASF at the Golf Industry Show 2015 (booth #4111) to learn more about the power within. Stop by to chat with our pros, win prizes and attend one of our panel discussions featuring superintendents from some of the finest courses in the country. You’ll learn about our advanced plant health solutions that produce resilient turf, and ways that BASF can help your course achieve superior playability.

Editors, please contact Laudan Fenster at laudan.fenster@padillacrt.com or 612-455-1746 to arrange interviews.

©2015 BASF Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF.

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 JasonSchmadererPhoto.webLooking for Global Connections

By Jason Schmaderer VP / Account Supervisor, Swanson Russell
President, TOCA Board of Directors

Globalization is a buzzword that’s been thrown around for decades and most of us in the green industry take it for granted that our goods and services are marketed, sold and used in markets outside the U.S. In fact, a good percentage of us work for global concerns with a larger presence outside our domestic borders. So, it should come as no surprise that the time has come for TOCA to begin to look beyond our own backyard. And, as you might also expect, our first opportunity comes just across the pond in the U.K.

Jason Scott PresentationFellow members Scott Hollister and Chuck Bowen along with TOCA staffer, Kristy Mach, braved the cold Yorkshire weather in January to join me in Harrogate, England at the annual BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) where we conducted a creative writing and social media seminar and began to lay the foundation for a possible TOCA chapter in the U.K. The seminar was attended by an enthusiastic group of green industry marketers, who were attending BTME. And we were able to speak with many others who were unable to join us for the seminar.

Crown Hotel ExteriorAs exciting as the prospect of starting a U.K.-based chapter, the most satisfying part of this trip was simple validation of what we’ve created these past 25 years. As we shared ideas and information with our counterparts, the interest was immediate. You could see the light bulbs turn on as we talked about our mission of promoting green industry communications excellence. I look forward to continuing to get our first international chapter off the ground and consider the potential opportunities it could bring to us here in the U.S. There is much yet to do, more people to recruit and more thinking to be done but this is a great first step to create better connections in this global industry.

IMG_1853 (3)We will continue to share progress with you as we move forward with this process. If you have global connections within your organization – particularly those based in the U.K. – that might benefit from TOCA, please let us know so we can reach out to them.

Finally, I want to note that for years we've had an international member -- Austen Sutton of Syngenta. Austen has sponsored our international communications contest for almost 10 years through his office in Switzerland. He is the "trail-blazer" of sorts as far as an international member. We thank him for his many years as a member in an international capacity.

IMG_1847 (3)Welcome our new international members:

Peter Driver, Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd.

Karen Proctor, Rasomes Jacobsen Ltd.

Steve Nixon, Bernhard & Co. Ltd.

Sally Taylor, Bernhard & Co. Ltd.

Steve Castle, British International Golf & Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)

Warren Bevan, Bearwood Lakes Golf Club

Katie Marwick, Bayer Crop Science

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Meeting Logo

26th Annual TOCA Meeting – “Made In Milwaukee”

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

There’s so much to like about the 2015 TOCA meeting in Milwaukee May 5-7 that one forgets there’s professional development, award presentations, networking and so much more besides.

Take a moment, close your eyes and just start humming the “Happy Days” theme song. It starts with brats and beers, then only gets better from that point on. Milwaukee is our 26th different city for a TOCA annual meeting and all our great TOCA members in the city are rolling out the welcome mat for us.

Although full details of the meeting in terms of the agenda are not totally locked in, the foundation is in place, continuing with the revised format we started last year to provide more professional development, more variety of workshops, more reasons for you to attend the annual meeting.

The tentative agenda is at the bottom of this article in much detail. But here are the highlights:

MilwaukeeTUESDAY

  • Arrivals Tuesday during the day. Ad Hoc business meeting. (Board meets from 2-5 p.m., followed by dinner.) Informal TOCA member gathering in the hotel is set for 6 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

  • Revised format first used last year again begins the program on Wednesday morning. The program will include recognition of our student scholarship, Plant Health Writer of the Year and Environmental Communicator of the Year winners.
  • Future of the Green Industry panel. Leading Green Industry participants representing lawn/landscape, golf, sod production, manufacturing and more discuss where the industry is heading as the economy continues to rebound.
  • Tour and golf Wednesday afternoon. Looking for a close-up grounds view of Miller Park? Or the landscaping and education efforts of green spaces at the world-famous Mitchell Park Conservancy – The Domes? Then sign up for the afternoonDomes tour. These are tentative at this time, but hope to have confirmation soon on these stops. If it’s golf you’re interested in, final steps are being taken to play at one of the premier golf courses in the city of Milwaukee – Browne Deere or one of the Legends Courses. Details will be available soon.
  • The opening night reception. The off-site reception will be held at the scenic Lakefront Brewery.

 

THURSDAY

  • The Second Annual TOCA Three-Mile Run for Fun (and we do mean fun) is scheduled for early morning. Route details available soon.
  • New Insights into Creative Writing for Business-Business Publications. Pulitzer-prize winning writer Jacqui Banaszynski, Poynter Institute, will inform and educate our members about new ways to write creatively for our publications and for company newsletters and other publications.
  • Breakout Sessions. Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Talk Amongst Yourselves -- Best Practices Roundtable Discussions return for year two. There will be three roundtables and you can choose two during two, 45-minute sessions. (Regarding moderators, Banaszynski is one example and Pat Jones, publisher at GIE Media has volunteered to lead another roundtable. One more moderator will be selected soon. Your ideas are welcome.)
  • Horticulturalist Melinda Myers on Consumer Perceptions. Nationally-syndicated speaker Melinda Myers will discuss consumer perceptions of the Green Industry and focus on better ways to communicate responsible use of products for the lawn and landscape industry to TOCA member readers and purchasers of products.
  • Business Meeting concludes afternoon. Are you ready for excitement? The business meeting brings members up to date on all the activities of the organization, including the new foundation, our efforts to grow internationally in Great Britain and more.
  • Evening Awards Reception/Banquet. Learn about our communications contest winners and the TOCA Hall of Fame inductees.

Yes indeed: TOCA members are ready to be “Made in Milwaukee!” Thanks to our annual program committee of volunteers -- Lyle Orwig, Dave Harding, Sara Bojar, Alane Saphner, Nicole Wagner and Jason DeSarle – for their excellent work. What follows is a more detailed agenda for this year’s meeting.

Tuesday, May 5

All Day – Travel/Taking Care of Business (Ad Hoc Business Meetings by TOCA members at leisure)

2:00-5:00 p.m.   Board Meeting - Mayor’s Room

6:00 p.m.             Informal TOCA Member Meet-up (non-hosted)

7:00-9:00 p.m.   Board Dinner/Brewery Sampling (by invitation only) – Jackson Street Room – at Hotel

Non-board members: dinner on own

Wednesday, May 6

7:30 a.m.              Registration Opens – Salon C

9:00 a.m.              Welcome: Presidential Remarks; Recognition of Board & 1st Timers; Agenda Overview; Student Scholarship;

9:45 a.m.              Environmental Communicator of the Year Presentation

10:00 a.m.           Plant Health Writer of the Year Presentation

10:15 a.m.           Break

10:30 a.m.           Future of Green Industry Panel

  • Chris Kujawa, President, KIE, Inc. (landscape owner)
  • Golf Course Superintendent Bryan Bergner, Westmoor CC, Milwaukee.
  • Schiller Grounds Care Representative
  • Roger Blair, Jasperson Sod Farm, Inc.

Noon     Head for tour/golf.  Return to hotel around 5:00 p.m.

6:15 p.m.               Meet in lobby to board bus for Lakefront Brewery Tour

6:30-7:15 p.m.      Lakefront Brewery tour (optional)

7:00 p.m.               Meet in lobby to board bus for Opening Night Reception (if not attending the tour)

7:15-9:00 p.m.   Opening Night Reception – Lakefront Brewery Lakefront brewery

9:00 p.m.             Bus returns to Hotel

Thursday, May 7

7:00 a.m.              Runners Unite (Optional) – Second Annual Three-Mile Run for Fun (and we do mean fun)! Specific route TBD

8:00 a.m.              Breakfast + Ad-Hoc Committee Meetings – Salon A

9:00 a.m.              Session I – Salon C, Keynote: Jacqui Banaszynski, Poynter Institute. Pulitzer-prize winning writer will challenge members regarding creative writing for b-b audiences.

10:15 a.m.           Break

10:30 a.m.           Banaszynski continues.

11:00 a.m.           Break to move to next session – Roundtable Rooms: Governor’s Room, Salon B and Salon C

11:05 a.m.           Session II (1hr) – Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Talk Amongst Yourselves -- Best Practices Roundtable Discussions: Choose among three topics that interest you. Participate in two, 45-minute facilitator-led, roundtable format peer discussions. Moderators include Jacqui Banaszynski, Pat Jones and one to-be-determined.

12:30 p.m.           Lunch (1hr) – Salon A

1:30 p.m.             Session III -- TBD – Salon C

2:30 p.m.             Break (15min)

2:45 p.m.             Session IV (1hr) – Horticulturalist Melinda Myers: How to help your readers/ product users better understand consumer perceptions of the Green Industry

3:45 p.m.             End session and return for business meeting

4:00 p.m.             Business Meeting: Election of board, other appropriate business, closing remarks

5:00 p.m.             Adjourn

6:30 p.m.             Reception – Salon B Pre-Function Area

7:30 p.m.             Dinner & Awards Banquet & TOCA Hall of Fame Award - Salon A&B

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2015 TOCA Communications Contest: New online system

The TOCA Communications Contest is undergoing big changes in 2015 – all in hopes of making entering, judging and getting feedback from your entries easier than ever. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect as we complete the conversion process to putting our awards program on the BetterBNC Media Awards Platform. Detailed instructions will be posted on www.toca.org once the contest is open.

All entries for all of our programs are due March 13, 2015.  The online entries will close by midnight on that date; mail-in entries must be postmarked by that date, also. Entries must have been produced, published or put online in 2014.

So what does using the new online platform mean for you as a member? First of all, all entries will be made online on www.betterbnc.com under the “contest” umbrella of the  TOCA Communications Contest.

Secondly, once your name and contact information is entered up front, you won’t have to repeat it over and over on multiple entry forms. The system does that for you. Also, we’ve pre-loaded in names, addresses, emails and phone numbers for all current TOCA members into the system, so most of you will be able to find your name and just confirm your info or update as needed. Many of you are contest administrators for your team, so you'll just utilize your username and login for those entries.

Except for a few categories that require the judges to have printed materials in their hands, all entries will be submitted “electronically” – uploaded through the system as digital file attachments and/or as URLs. For the few mail-in categories, you still submit the entry form online, then the system will generate an entry form/mailing label to send with your physical entry.

So, as you begin to select your entries, you don’t have to pull physical tear sheets or make multiple big notebooks of media/special event materials. Think “digital” – PDFs of  articles, or Word docs of special event materials, jpegs of photo entries or of 3D items that are part of a media event. Have URLs ready to type in for podcasts or websites, for example, complete with any and all passwords or other log-in information judges will need so they can judge your work online.

Digital file attachments need to be 5MB or smaller to be uploaded directly as entries. For larger files (5MB to 250MB), there is an option on the Submit Entry page for you to upload those files into a free host account. Then you’ll copy/paste the hosted item’s web address into the Website URL field. You can also use Scribd.com, Dropbox.com, Issuu.com etc. for these larger files.

Another tip in advance – BetterBNC is optimized for the Google Chrome Browser for both PC and Macintosh computers, and will be fully supported by BetterBNC customer support. So please have the latest version on your computer and be sure to use it when you enter.

Lastly, if you’ve not paid your TOCA dues for 2015, please do so as soon as possible so you are eligible to enter the TOCA Communications Contest. Contact Kristy Mach at kristymach@gandgcomm.com if you are unsure of your paid membership status.

We know there will be many questions as we make the transition. We will do all we can to supply clear directions from the get-go, and as questions come up, we will provide an FAQ section on the contest home page to share the answers and clarifications with everyone.

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Shining a Light on TOCA Gardner Award Winners

(Editor’s Note: The TOCA Professional Development Team continues its series on 2014 Gardner Award winners.)

First up: Debbie Clayton (ClaytonHimes PR) recently spoke with Eric Schroder, editor of SportsTurf magazine, about his 2014 Gardner Award for the article "Charlotte Motor Speedway."

Could you briefly explain what this article covers?

Charlotte Motor Speedway, like many large racing venues, features an area of turf that faces the main grandstand that separates the track from the pit area, and serves as a canvas for corporate logos, etc. The article details how the turf manager operates in this unusual environment.

Who came up with the idea for this story?

Adam Slick, the PR and communications manager for Jacobsen, pitched me the idea;

Eric Schroder at Ripken Experience facility in Aberdeen, MD, inside the stadium for the Iron Birds minor league team

Eric Schroder at Ripken Experience facility in Aberdeen, MD, inside the stadium for the Iron Birds minor league team

he was going to be visiting the venue and asked if I would like a story about how they manage their turf. If I know and trust a PR professional, it is the proverbial win-win to publish such an article. He knows I don’t want a bunch of marketing language in the piece and understands that done well, the article will serve to educate and/or entertain our audience. And I make a point of using an editor’s note upfront in such instances to let readers know the article was written by a company representative so they can choose to skip it if that annoys them.

How did you work together to make the story happen?

Exchanging a few emails was all it took. In his pitch he made it clear that he understood my parameters (we’ve done this before!) and outlined a few points that he wanted to pursue. I responded with a few suggestions and we were off to the races.

What were your primary challenges in developing this project?

In an ideal publishing environment, my budget would allow me to go to Charlotte and do this story myself. We all know where most of us are with that! So the challenge is really more on the PR pro—can you produce an interesting story?

What do you think helped you win this year?

Adam’s professionalism and my willingness to turn over valuable space to him with trust that he won’t send in a piece titled, “The New Sliced Bread: My Client’s Latest XYZ.”

Thanks, Adam!

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Next, Kyle Brown (of GIE Publishing) and Ciarra Ahern (of Global Prairie) interviewed Patty DiMucci of Bayer, about her Gardner Award – Healthy Turf, Healthy Tomorrow

Q: What was the original vision for this campaign?

Bayer wanted to further plant health research by donating a portion of sales of our StressGard FT products. It was important that we dedicate our resources to plant health research as we were the first company to introduce a product with plant health benefits almost 20 years ago with the launch of Signature®. Beyond just a financial contribution, we also wanted to create a program that encouraged education about plant health, hence the creation of the academy, webinars and “living labs” (demonstration courses).

Q: How did you go about encouraging industry dialogue and research?

Working with GCSAA and the EIFG was the obvious partner for this program. The power of our two companies working together has allowed this program to thrive and be tweaked if necessary. We’re constantly challenging ourselves on how to improve the program.

Q: What kept the teams working together smoothly? Who was key in making the project come together?

Passion.  Every person involved with the program had a huge amount of passion for it. There was not one person who can take credit for the collective efforts of Bayer, GCSAA and our agency, Global Prairie.

Q: What were the most important parts in execution of the campaign?

Generating awareness was the first task at hand. Then we had to educate people about the program, followed by the execution of it. Every step of the way provided an opportunity for us to monitor, measure and solicit feedback.

Q: What was the biggest success in the campaign?

The partnership between us to dedicate resources to plant health.  It affects all of us today, tomorrow, and certainly the future.

Milan DiMucci Galliou

Jose Milan, Patty DiMucci and Gilles Galliou, Bayer

GIS 2013 First inaugural Plant Health Academy class in Clayton, NC (including attendees, speakers, Bayer and GCSAA staff)

GIS 2013 First inaugural Plant Health Academy class in Clayton, NC (including attendees, speakers, Bayer and GCSAA staff)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Learn more about your TOCA team

TOCA Member Profile: Scott Hollister

Brought to you by the TOCA Professional Development Committee

GCSAA 2014 Board and Staff PhotosMeet Scott Hollister, your incoming TOCA President! Scott has served on the TOCA Board for more than 5 years, and is also editor-in-chief of Golf Course Management magazine – the official publication of the GCSAA. Scott joined GCSAA in spring 1998 – two weeks after GIS (and in the middle of an office move). He lives in suburban Kansas City with his wife and three kids. His son is a senior at the University of Arkansas, and he has two daughters, ages 15 and 11.

Q: What made you choose journalism – and then a career writing about golf and turf?

A:  English and writing always came easy to me, and were subjects I enjoyed. I also had a massive love of sports, but realized I probably shouldn’t bank on a career as a pro athlete, so instead started writing about it. I was editor of my high school newspaper, and then served as sports editor for my college paper. This eventually led to a career in sports writing for small newspapers in the Midwest, which I enjoyed for 10 years – despite the low pay and long hours. When I heard from an industry contact about the opportunity at GCSAA, I was excited to apply, and then even more so when I landed the editor position for GCM magazine.

FUN FACT:  One of my early and most memorable tournament experiences after joining GCSAA was the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach – the tournament Tiger Woods won by about 15 shots. This opened our eyes to major championship golf as a primary point of interest among members, and it was exciting at GCM to play a role in transforming these to must-cover events.

Q: You must get to do a lot of travel to interesting places and events. What is a favorite memory from your time writing about the golf/turfgrass industry?

A: There are many, which is a definite perk of the job – going to beautiful places and big events. Again, the one that sticks with me is the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where I volunteered as one of the maintenance workers and met many superintendents who are still some of my best contacts. After being paired with an assistant superintendent to rake bunkers all week, the first bunker we worked Sunday was the sea wall bunker on #18. The ocean comes right up to it, and waves were crashing up along this long, narrow bunker that runs along the left side of fairway all the way to green. The sun was rising behind us, sea lions in the distance, and in a moment of clarity, I was struck with the thought, “I’m this stupid kid from Kansas; how the heck did I get here?”

FUN FACT:

One afternoon when we weren’t doing bunkers, I was asked to join some supers from Bandon Dunes and fix ball marks on greens. We went to green 11, where there’s a massive multimillion-dollar home overlooking the course. They’re having a party out back, and as we’re working, we notice someone walking down the path towards the gate that led to course with something in his hands. As he draws nearer, we see he’s carrying three beers, and the guy says, “I appreciate your help making the greens look so great. Here’s something to take the edge off.” Again, sometimes it’s those little moments that stand out the most.

GCM CoverQ: Is there an success or initiative you’ve been most proud of in your time at GCM magazine?

A:  One thing all of us are constantly proud of at GCM is the level of consistency that we’ve been able to maintain. There are some excellent journalists and people covering this business now that weren’t necessarily around when I started and we have tremendous respect for the work that’s done by everyone covering golf course management. We think the fact that so many invest time and resources into that work is one sign of a healthy industry. It’s a changing market, with constantly evolving technologies, and that means you have to stay on your toes and keep looking to improve. We understand there are advantages to being an association publication and don’t take those lightly. Our commitment is to continue delivering on our mission, creating a tremendous product for GCSAA members and our superintendent audience, anticipating their needs and maintaining their respect.

FUN FACT:

I had a stretch of bumping into famous athletes with a co-worker – literally. I almost knocked Michael Jordan to the ground before a pre-season game, when he was playing with the Bulls. We’re in the halls of the arena, heading to our seats on press row, and I walk right into him, “Oh wow – that’s the most famous athlete in the world!” At a Kansas City Royals game, we ran into Cal Ripken, Jr., who did an awkward dance to avoid us, and similarly, I accidentally clipped Bo Jackson when he played with the Royals.

Q: Outside of work, what are you passionate about?

evertonA: I’m a big music fan of all sorts, although I feel like I get suspicious looks these days at alternative rock concerts (“Is that a cop?” “Who brought the narc?”).  Sports are a definite passion.   I played baseball into college, but also love basketball, football, golf. My most recent passion, though, is  English Premier League soccer (I follow Everton). I have season tickets to the Major League Soccer team in KC, and my daughter plays on a team also. About five years ago, I wondered if I could actually start following a team or league in a sport that I didn’t grow up with to the point I knew the players and standings, and thanks to internet and cable it’s been easily doable.

FUN FACT: Most Saturday mornings I’m up at 6am to watch EPL games. When I was in England in January representing TOCA at the BIGGA Turf Management Expo, I caught two matches. Jason Schmaderer and I saw Sheffield Wednesday play Bolton, and then I saw Scottish Premier League power Celtic play when we were in Glasgow.

Q: What are some of your goals for TOCA as you take on the role of President this year?

IMG_1844 (3)A: I’ll be trying to maintain a lot of the momentum this organization has gained in recent years thanks to the folks we’ve been fortunate enough to have in that position – most recently McGavock Edwards and Jason. It will be a bit daunting to fill those shoes. We’ve made great strides as an organization representing such a diverse group of people, and one goal is to ensure we are in at least as good a place when my term is done – both in the U.S. and with our overseas / UK expansion, which is something I’m going to continue to be focused on.

FUN FACT:

The first TOCA annual meeting I went to was in Boston, and we got to tour Fenway Park. As a baseball fan, it was great to tour the field, pretending to catch fly balls in front of the Green Monster. Looking back, all the annual meetings I’ve attended have been great experiences. I won’t speak too much for the other folks who went to England, but we’re all honored to be representing TOCA at BIGGA, and hope it started something good for the organization – beyond just going to pubs and soccer matches.

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TOCA Announces Third Year of Internship Program

By Den Gardner

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) announces year three of the TOCA Internship Program. Sponsored by Bayer, the internship program involves the selection of a college student for an eight- to 10-week summer employment with a Green Industry publication that’s a member of TOCA. A selection committee will choose the student for the internship.

The 2015 intern will be hosted by Total Landscape Care magazine and Patty Vaughan. The magazine is located in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The 2014 intern was Jamie Keyes at North Coast Media. Thanks to Bayer for its sponsorship of this program. And thanks to North Coast Media and Marisa Palmieri for hosting Jamie. Thanks to TOCA and Bayer for launching this program.”

The intern will receive a $3,000 stipend (to be paid by TOCA).

“We are thrilled to again be implementing this program through TOCA,” said Patty Dimucci of Bayer's Professional Lawn and Golf businesses. “It’s important for young college communicators to better understand the Green Industry and an internship at a major TOCA publication is one step in the right direction in that learning curve.”

Students wishing to apply for the 2015 summer internship program need to fill out the application blank on the web site. Deadline is Feb. 28, 2015. Go to www.toca.org for the application blanks.

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 Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association

2015 PLANT HEALTH WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD PROGRAM

Rules and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

AN ANNUAL AWARD SPONSORED BY BAYER GIVEN TO A TOCA MEMBER FOR OUTSTANDING WRITING IN THE AREA OF PLANT HEALTH THROUGH ARTICLES OR OTHER WRITTEN OR VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS WITHIN THE GREEN INDUSTRY.

Rules

  1. The Plant Health Writer of the Year Award program is provided annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including new media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.
  2. A stipend of $1,000 will be given annually to the winner to be used for professional development in the green industry.
  3. The award winner will be chosen by a selection committee chosen by the TOCA Board of Directors.
  4. The winner each year must be a TOCA member.
  5. Entries submitted must include information published or been presented between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014.
  6. Only articles and other communications that predominantly have plant health as the subject matter will be eligible for the contest. The selection committee is the final authority for determining whether an entry meets that standard.
  7. Non-English entries may be accepted, but must be accompanied by a complete and accurate English translation.
  8. Entries are to be submitted electronically as a PDF online, including the entry form.
  9. Application and entries are due March 2, 2015.
  10. The winner will be announced in April of 2015 and receive his/her award at the 26th annual TOCA meeting in Milwaukee, WI on May 6, 2015.
  11. The winning communications materials will be reproduced on the TOCA website and in TOCA publications as appropriate.

For more information about this program, contact TOCA at toca@gandgcomm.com or via phone: 952/758-6340.

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TOCA Scholarship

Perhaps you know of some deserving student currently pursuing a career in green industry communications. A niece or nephew? The kid down the block who used to mow your lawn but now studies marketing and landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee? Maybe it's your intern, the one answering your phone as you read this very sentence. How about nominating him or her for a TOCA scholarship?

The TOCA Board of Directors will award one $2,500, fall semester scholarship (2015-2016 academic-year) to an undergraduate college student pursuing a career in green industry communications. To qualify, students must major or minor in technical communications or a green industry related field such as horticulture, plant sciences, botany, agronomy, plant pathology, etc. The applicant also must demonstrate an interest in using this course of study in the field of communications.

Nathan NorstedtNathan Norstedt ($2,500) and Katie Wolters ($1,000), both students attending Kansas State University were the 2014 TOCA scholarship winners. Norstedt attended the TOCA conference in New Orleans.

Application deadline is March 1, 2015, but it's never too soon to identify, encourage and reward deserving students outstanding in the field. Or on the lawn.

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TOCA ANNOUNCES THE 2015 ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR PROGRAM

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) announces its seventeenth Environmental Communicator of the Year Award program. The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, is given annually to an active green industry member for outstanding efforts in communicating the benefits of environmental stewardship to a particular audience within the turf and ornamental industry. Winners in the first 16 years were: Mark Welterlen of Grounds Maintenance Magazine; Bill Love of W.R. Love Golf Architecture; Tim Doppel of Atwood LawnCare, Inc.; Doug Fender, Turf Producers International; Allen James, RISE; Rod Dodson of Audubon International; Jeff Gullikson of Spokane Country Club; Kevin Trotta of IPM; Helen Stone of Southwest Trees & Turf; Allied Golf Associations of Colorado; Drs. Larry Stowell and Wendy Gelernter of PACE Turf, Chris Gray of Marvel Golf Club in Kentucky, Anthony Williams of Stone Mountain Golf Club, Frank S. Rossi, Ph.D. of Cornell University, and Phil Fogarty of Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management, Brandon Horvath, Ph.D., turfgrass professor at the University of Tennessee

The award is open to anyone in the green industry. Nominees, however, must be a present TOCA member or be nominated by a present TOCA member. (A member can nominate herself/himself).

The award is given annually at the TOCA annual meeting, held this year in Milwaukee, WI, May 5-7, 2015. A $500 cash stipend is presented to the winner.

Applications will be judged and a winner selected by a group of independent, expert judges.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE EMAILED OR POSTMARKED BY MARCH 1, 2015.

WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED IN MARCH 2015.

For more information, contact Den Gardner at toca@gandgcomm.com or 952-758-6340.

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TOCA Holds New Member Breakfast at IA Show in Phoenix

By Den Gardner, Executive DirectorIAShow_Den (3)

IAShow_Group (3)TOCA added a third breakfast to its cadre of new member initiatives back in November when it teamed with Ewing and the Irrigation Association to sponsor a breakfast at the organization’s annual meeting. Approximately a dozen TOCA members and prospects attended the breakfast. (TOCA currently does new member breakfasts at GIE+EXPO and the Golf Industry Show.) Den Gardner, executive director (standing in photo included here) spoke IAShow_GroupDen2 (3)of the organization’s 26-year history and professional development benefits to its members.

Thanks to Lacy Ravencraft of Ewing and Lenise Phillips from the Irrigation Association for assistance in making the breakfast possible.

 

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where-big-things-happenFMC and GCSAA/GCM Magazine Offer New Member Breakfast at GIS

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is providing a breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Antonio. FMC and GCSAA/Golf Course Management magazine are co-sponsoring the reception.

Breakfast Details:

For Whom: TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When:   Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Where: Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Antonio, TX, Bowie B Room, Floor 2

Time:     7:00-8:15 a.m. breakfast and TOCA update

We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast. Please RSVP to Den Gardner or Barb Ulschmid at 952-758-6340 or e-mail your RSVP to toca@gandgcomm.com.

Thanks – see you in San Antonio!

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Calendar of Events | 2015Winter Snow

February 21-26, 2015 Golf Industry Show February 25, 2015: TOCA Breakfast Reception - 7:15 to 8:15 a.m.                                                                                                                                                     Grand Hyatt Hotel, Room: Bowie B (hotel’s second floor) San Antonio, TX

February 28, 2015 TOCA Internship Student application deadline

March 1, 2015 – TOCA Scholarship application deadline – Plant Health Writer of the Year application deadline – TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year application deadline

March 13, 2015 TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline

April 1, 2015 TOCA International Communications Contest entries deadline

May 5-7, 2015 (Tues-Thurs) 26th annual TOCA Meeting Milwaukee Marriott Downtown Hotel Milwaukee, WI

 

New TOCA Members – Welcome!

Sabrina Bladon, The Chimera Group

Alexis Bryan Brumm, PKA Marketing

Natalie Ciambrone, Dow AgroSciences

Eddie Gordon, Ewing Irrigation

Leslie Finical Halleck, Halleck Horticultural LLC

Caitlin Haskins, IMRE

Kimberly Huston, PadillaCRT

Tra Huddleston, Nufarm Americas Inc.

Steve Jedrzejek, Nufarm Americas Inc.

Sierra Kennedy, Dixie Chopper

Mary Maxwell, Archer Malmo

Devron McLeod, Nufarm Americas Inc.

Jennifer L. Okray, Precision Laboratories

Dawn D. Pelon, New Holland

Lauren Reaves, Archer Malmo

Nikki Rosen, Halleck Horticultural LLC

Dave Wegener, Swanson Russell

Gregg Wisniewski, Syngenta

Peter Driver, Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd.

Karen Proctor, Rasomes Jacobsen Ltd.

Steve Nixon, Bernhard & Co. Ltd.

Sally Taylor, Bernhard & Co. Ltd.

Steve Castle, British International Golf & Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA)

Warren Bevan, Bearwood Lakes Golf Club

Katie Marwick, Bayer Crop Science

Poynter Institute Webinars

webinar-photoProfessional Development

As a service organization, our mission is to provide opportunities for professional development and networking to editors, writers, photographers and others in  communications. However, we realize not all of our members are able to attend workshops in person and participate in live webinars.
AAEA has graciously allowed members of TOCA to take part in enriching webinars at a reduced rate.

2014 Poynter Institute Webinars
Poynter Institute has created a set of courses, available to you at reduced cost. This webinar series, which you can take at your convenience, is brought to you at a reduced cost through a grant from AAEA’s Professional Improvement Foundation and Exponent PR.

Get to the Point! Strategies for High-Impact Communications is a five-course online learning series designed to help communicators sharpen their skills. Once you have registered, you can access the courses  throughout 2014.

Whatever your role or experience level, this program will help you communicate more effectively on paper, online and in visual media. The courses can be taken in any order at any time once you register.

The courses include:

Taken individually without this special offer, these proven Poynter courses would cost about $120. TOCA members pay only $70 when they register using a special promotional code.
Even better, the first 200 people to register get another $10 discount, thanks to funding from the AAEA Professional Improvement Fund and sponsorship by Exponent PR. That’s a total cost of just $60.  Where else can you get first-class continuing education at half price? That’s the beauty of AAEA membership.

Register today to get the best price and the most benefit from this specially selected continuing education program, available to TOCA from Poynter and AAEA.

How to register:
1. Go to www.newsu.org/courses/aaea-package
2. Use this promotional code to get the discounted price: 14PAAEA
3. Start learning! (If you have trouble on the site, notify Poynter at info@newsu.org)

(Please note: You will need to set up a Poynter News U account before registering for the AAEA program, which includes an emailed confirmation step. Don’t put the promo code above in the field for class code when you set up an account – use the promo code when you are paying for the program.)

TOCATalk – Fall 2014

Thank you for supporting the industry that supports our innovations. We take great pride in developing and bringing to market innovative solutions for weed, disease and insect control, which play an important role in everyday life.

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by BASF.

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What do we stand for?Jason.image(3).web

By Jason Schmaderer
VP / Account Supervisor, Swanson Russell
President TOCA Board of Directors

Although I’m sure every member of TOCA recognizes this experience, I often find myself explaining what I’m talking about when I mention the organization to a colleague or industry acquaintance. I dutifully listen to the obligatory T-O-C-A! T-O-C-A! chant followed by a mild chuckle and then I explain what TOCA stands for.

But recently, I’ve been giving more thought to what we stand for. We’re a diverse organization of communications professionals representing a broad swath of industry interests. Are we simply the sum of our parts or is there a higher order principle behind what we do as an organization?

In addition to a basic commitment to improving our professional craft, I believe there are shared goals we should be working toward that benefit each of our organizations while also supporting the industry as a whole. Goals such as:

  • Effectively educating the customers and readers we serve
  • Raising a positive profile of our industries among the general public
  • Honestly acknowledging challenges we face as an industry and inviting a dialogue with all interested parties

As the communicators in this industry, this is our job, right? We have a responsibility to build the industry as well as our employers’ bottom line. And if we take this seriously, it requires the willingness to think twice about what we say, what we claim.

Focusing on our day-to-day routines and deadlines make it hard to keep some of these principles in mind. But that’s also the reason we need organizations like TOCA to break us out of the routine and remind us of some of these higher order goals. Especially because they’re not necessarily easy to accomplish when our immediate obligations may be much narrower in scope.

Don’t misunderstand; we’re not an advocacy group. We’re a professional communicators organization united through our work in the same industries. But we can make a difference for the industries we’ve come to love by recognizing that we can stand for something more than professional excellence.

So, the next time someone asks me what TOCA stands for they may get more than they bargained for. But I’d also love to hear what you think we stand for. Let the conversation begin.

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A New Quarter Century of TOCA Begins – Let's Have a Beer

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

It would be so easy to start with: “A hundred bottles of beer on the wall, a hundred bottles of beer, if one of the bottles should happen to fall… Well, you know the rest.

As TOCA enters its second quarter-century as a vibrant association meeting the needs of its more than 240 members, please put May 5-7, 2015, on your calendars as the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown welcomes members for the first time.

Although full details of the meeting in terms of the agenda are not totally locked in, there is much to report as the new format instituted last year will continue – with more professional development, more variety of workshops, more reasons for you to attend this annual meeting.

Thanks to EPIC Creative, a logo for the meeting is currently being developed. A shout-out as well to Charleston?Orwig, which will be assisting in some aspects of the meeting, along with Bader-Rutter.

The program committee is being led again by Lacy Ravencraft, who along with her stellar crew of committee members, developed one of the best professional development meetings in memory last year in New Orleans.

The agenda is very tentative at this point. But here’s a brief sneak peak at some topics for the agenda as of mid-September.

  •  Wednesday Tour. Attending members can choose from a round of golf OR a behind-the-scenes tour (lunch included) of something that makes Milwaukee famous. The golf/tour will now be Wednesday afternoon, May 6, of this year’s meeting. This is an event that members will pay for separate and apart from the registration fees.
  •  Best Practices Peer Round Tables. After the great success of last year’s round tables, they are back! Choose the round table topic that most interests you in these facilitator-led, open peer discussion round table sessions. There will be something for everyone, with topics on all aspects of communications as it affects your day-to-day jobs in the Green Industry. We’re still narrowing in on our topic selections, so if you have a suggestion, please email it to lravencraft@ewing1.com.
  • Milwaukee Shows Off the Green Industry. From leading equipment manufacturers (inside the Green Industry and out) to one of the largest and most innovative landscaping companies in the U.S. – KIE, Inc. (Kujawa Enterprises, Inc.), Milwaukee has plenty to offer TOCA members in terms of information and education on key Green Industry topics. Still to-be-determined is just what shape this portion of the meeting will take. Details to come later this fall.
  •  And more!

Full details of the 26th anniversary meeting and other activities slated for 2015 will be revealed to the membership at the GIE Breakfast in Louisville in October and afterwards by email to all TOCA members.

And remember the great words of this anonymous author: “I only drink beer on days that end in ‘y!’” Milwaukee here we come!

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2015 applications are now online!

Plant Health Writer of the Year Application
Environmental Communicator of the Year Application & Details
Internship Host Application
Internship Application
TOCA 2015 Scholarship Application (PDF)

If you find you are having troubles downloading, please contact Kristy Mach at kristymach@gandgcomm.com.

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Getting the Scoop on TOCA Gardner Award Winners

(Editor's Note: The Professional Development Team continues its series on 2014 Gardner Award winners.)

First up: Debbie Clayton (ClaytonHimes PR) recently spoke with Kyle Brown, associate editor at Golf Course Industry magazine, about his 2014 Gardner Award for his podcast "Dog's Best Friend."

Could you briefly describe your winning project?

Kyle: “Dog’s Best Friend” is a feature podcast I did with golf course superintendent Bob Kohlstedt at Fox Bend Golf Course. I edited my interview with Kohlstedt and did my own voiceover work to lay out the story in a way that felt like a feature story should, to me.

What was your strategy in developing this podcast?

Kyle: It wasn’t as much a strategy as knowing when I came across his story that I needed to highlight his experience. Kohlstedt risked his life to save his dog in a flood, and when I talked with him, I knew his story was one that would resonate with our readers and, really, anyone who loves dogs. I wanted to let Kohlstedt tell his own story as much as possible, but I knew that it could be presented in a way that makes it come to life and brings the listener right into the moment.

Did the content come from your personal experience?

Kyle: Only as much as what I got from our interview. I grew up with several animals, so I know what it’s like to be passionate about a pet – I’m not certain I’d dive into a flood to save any of them, though. One aspect I really wanted to bring to this story was a strong narrative, but presented in an interesting way. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I definitely follow a few that I think know how to show off the best parts of a story, and I tried to draw on what brings me to those podcasts.

What do you think helped you win this year?

Kyle: I’d like to say I think it was a polished story with top-notch presentation and reporting, with an eye to the production of the feature podcast. But it was probably also because Kohlstedt’s story is incredibly heartwarming. The golf industry loves its dogs.

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Next, Kyle Brown (of GIE Publishing) interviewed Roger Billings and Kelly Nies, of Golf Course Management, about their 2014 Gardner Award for "Printed magazine - Overall Magazine Design" for the April 2013 issue on "What's the Buzz About?"

 

Could you briefly describe your winning project:

OH, you mean our “bee” issue? Yeah, because golf courses are becoming an unexpected ally in the effort to boost dwindling bee populations, our April issue of GCM was dedicated the research about….you got it! Bees! From a design perspective, we just created some “buzz”….

What was your strategy in developing this issue:

It took an entire colony to build this one! Brainstorming with editorial and reading through university research (at least looking through the pictures) we approached the design with a clean and organized style.

What makes the magazine’s design work for you:

The fact that it was consistent in quality and the subject matter was interesting so we enjoyed doing our best work. It’s like it was swarming with great image and editorial!

What do you think helped you win this year?

Planning, focus and a lot of hard work. (Bwahahahaha!)

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TOCATalk Profile:  Patti DiMucci

As part of the TOCA Professional Development Committee's mission to provide in-depth content to TOCATalk, we will be showcasing TOCA members throughout the year.  In this issue, Ciara Ahern of Global Prairie profiles active TOCA member, Patti DiMucci.

Patty DiMucci (3)Patty DiMucci serves on the TOCA Board, and as Marketing Communications Manager for Bayer’s T&O business. Patty joined Bayer in March 2011 and has been in her current role with the T&O business since Jan. 2013. An experienced marketing communications professional, Patty’s strong background in the beauty industry is something she finds exciting to apply to the turf industry. Patty previously served as director of consumer promotions for Maybelline Garnier in New York – and after relocating to the South for her husband – worked with Ogilvy, the Body Shop, and as stay-at-home mom (where she faced all-new challenges as Brownie leader and bread-baker extraordinaire). She lives in Cary, NC, with her husband, Nick, daughter Sophia and son Donovan.

Q: What was it like to make the transition from beauty to turf?

A: There are actually many similarities between the beauty and turf industries that people might not be aware of – which made the transition easier. For example, beauty is largely about formulation and application technology. The industry faces similar pressures, such as regulatory and FDA reviews to gain approvals after testing. The purpose of the products is to create beauty – whether it’s a person’s complexion or the beauty we’re trying to create in the environment.

FUN FACT:  Beyond the similarities between beauty and turf, the ultimate truth is that marketing is marketing – in that the same laws apply regardless of industry or market. By knowing your target audience, budget, goals and objectives, a launch plan comes to life naturally. This always makes me think of SNL’s “Shimmer Floor Wax” skit (“it’s both a floor wax and a dessert topping!”).

Q: What was a favorite memory from your time working in the beauty industry?

A: I got to meet a lot of celebrities while working in the beauty industry. My favorite celebrity I ever met was Laura Prepon (from “That ‘70s Show” and “Orange Is The New Black”). She was my favorite because we’re both fun-loving redheads, and she’s just like her character on “That ‘70s Show” – we bonded instantly.

FUN FACT: I also met an Oscar winner once. I was at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, where Halle Berry was having dinner, and I literally followed her into the bathroom to meet her (we had industry friends in common). She was so sweet and breathtakingly gorgeous.

Q: Is there an success or initiative you’ve been most proud of in the T&O space?

A: This year the highlight of my year was Pinehurst. It was my first major tournament and the work we did with the restoration was a source of pride specific to the T&O industry.

FUN FACT: Prior to our collaboration with Pinehurst and NC State, the highlight of my career at Bayer was sponsoring a NASCAR driver – I thought that was the best it could get! (Patty is a closet NASCAR fan.)

Q: I hear you’re a music lover. What are your top picks?

A: My first love is Jim Morrison, and the Doors and always will be number one – but I love British punk rock (the Clash, the Jam), classic rock (Pink Floyd) and alternative. My last name, DiMucci, actually relates to a famous rock-and-roll legend, Dion DiMucci (known for “Runaround Sue,” “The Wanderer” and, as part of Dion and the Belmonts, “A Teenager in Love”). Dion is my husband’s first cousin.

FUN FACT: A little-known fact about Dion is that he was supposed to join Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper on the tragic flight that crashed during their 1959 tour (memorialized in Don McLean’s “American Pie”). He said he couldn’t justify the indulgence of the $36 flight because it was the same monthly rent his parents paid for his childhood apartment – so he took the tour bus. Recently, I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and got to see Dion’s exhibit and all the history firsthand – truly a special experience for me.

Q: Do you have any future goals or aspirations?

A: Get to Ireland and Italy before I die.

FUN FACT: Despite my last name, DiMucci, I’m actually Irish, married to an Italian. I am often told I seem to be 100% of both! Perhaps it’s my New York upbringing that helps bring out the Italian side.

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What’s new in Professional Development?

TOCA’s Professional Development committee has been hard at work, and is making progress on many fronts. Here are a few highlights of our activity:

Poynter Webinar Series. We’ve partnered with the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) to offer an online learning series. Improve your writing, leverage “big data”, dive into social media tools and more. Take one class—or all five!—for a special discounted rate. Webinars are available through December 31, so don’t delay! Register at www.newsu.org/courses/aaea-package.

2015 Annual Meeting in Milwaukee. The beginning phase of planning for the Milwaukee meeting is underway! We’ll soon be reaching out to our local members for some insider intel on all-things-Milwaukee, and hope to make this the best annual meeting program yet! Have programming ideas or topic/speaker recommendations—or just want to help? Contact Lacy Ravencraft. Special thanks to our host agency, Epic Creative! We look forward to working with you.

Content is King! We’re continuing our efforts to provide fresh and informative content in each issue of TOCA Talk, including award-winner profiles, member spotlights, and more. We’re also working to add helpful content to the TOCA website, including articles, committee volunteer opportunities and more.

Interested in joining the Professional Development Committee? Contact Board Liaison Debbie Clayton, deborah.s.clayton@gmail.com or Chair Lacy Ravencraft, lravencraft@ewing1.com.

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TOCA Membership Renewal for 2015

TOCA will be emailing the 2015 Membership Renewal forms soon. Our membership is more than 240 and we are well on our way to our goal of 250 members by the annual meeting in May of 2015. The good news is we are growing and for that we say thanks to you. Now, more than ever, we need you to renew all of your members and maybe even increase your individuals within your company or organization. You can help us reach our goal and help TOCA grow.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It’s only $140 per year for the first member and $90 for the second and subsequent members. Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of membership.

Please note that we have added an optional tax-deductible $15 contribution to membership dues for the TOCA Foundation, recently approved by the IRS as a stand-alone 501c3 non-profit organization. We will use this non-profit to increase our professional development and outreach to green industry communicators – young and old. If you prefer not to contribute, please notify the TOCA office at 952-758-6340 after you receive your membership renewal.

If there is more than one TOCA member in your company, one person from the group will receive the membership email. He/she should pass the Membership Application form to the other members in the company who want to renew their membership.  Membership Applications can be found online at www.toca.org.  Please return a Membership Application for each renewing member with your payment so we can keep track of each renewal.  You may pay dues with a CHECK made payable to the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association.   Or you can pay ONLINE with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX) at https://www.toca.org.  Click on Membership.  Click on Why Join TOCA?  At the bottom of this page click on Join and Pay Online.  To renew an existing membership, please log in to our members system by clicking on the line indicated.  After logging in, you will see all the members from your company –OR- your individual name.  You can update your contact information.  If you are renewing with others in your company, your Group # will be listed here.  And you can Renew Membership for 2015.

As noted earlier, dues for the first person from the company are $140.  Dues for each additional person from the same company are $90 each.  In this way your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.

We ask that you contact the TOCA office by December 31, 2014, with any changes to your contact information from last year so we can get the corrections into the online membership directory.  All renewals for 2015 are due by the end of this year.  We look forward to you renewing your membership.

Please don't hesitate to call the TOCA office with questions about your membership. Den Gardner, Executive Director Kristy Mach, Membership Director P. O. Box 156, 605 Columbus Ave. S. New Prague, MN 56071 Office: 952-758-6340 Fax: 952-758-5813 Email: toca@gandgcomm.com

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TOCA and Bayer Offer New Member Breakfast Reception at GIE + EXPO Meeting

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is again providing a breakfast reception at the GIE + EXPO in Louisville, KY.

Bayer sponsors the breakfast, with the room provided courtesy of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

For Whom: TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Friday, October 24, 2014

Where: Kentucky Exposition Center, Room C105

Time: 7:15 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. – Bayer Media Conference We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast. Whether or not you plan to attend, please RSVP. Any questions, contact Kristy Mach or Barb Ulschmid at 952-758-6340 or email to toca@gandgcomm.com.

Thank you – see you in Louisville!

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Calendar of Events | 2014-2015Fall Photo

October 22-24, 2014 Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO) Kentucky Exposition Center - Louisville, KY

October 22, 2014 TOCA Board Meeting – 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Kentucky Expo Center, RoomC110  Louisville, KY

October 24, 2014 TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m.      Bayer Media Conference – 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C105 Louisville, KY

November 19, 2014 Irrigation Show & Education Conference TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 AM Phoenix Convention Center, Room: 228B, North Building, 200 level (second level) Phoenix, AZ

February 25, 2015 Golf Industry Show TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Room: Bowie B (hotel’s second floor) San Antonio, TX

February 28, 2015 TOCA Internship Student application deadline

March 1, 2015 – TOCA Scholarship application deadline – Plant Health Writer of the Year application deadline – TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year application deadline

March 7, 2015 TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline

April 1, 2015 TOCA International Communications Contest entries deadline

May 5-7, 2015 (Tues-Thurs) 26th annual TOCA Meeting Milwaukee Marriott Downtown Hotel Milwaukee, WI

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New TOCA Members – Welcome!

Laudan Fenster, PadillaCRT

Johanna Kelly, Caterpillar

Kari Soderberg, PadillaCRT

TOCA Staff takes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

TOCA Staff - Den Gardner, Barb Ulschmid and Kristy Mach - took the ALS "Ice-Bucket Challenge" and donated to honor the 2006 Environmental Communicator of the Year Kevin Trotta, who is afflicted with ALS.  Kevin, as we all... know, is nationally known for his work on improving athletic fields and other turgrass areas, reducing their environmental footprint. His IPM work in New York schools significantly improved sports fields and other turfgrass areas. He has been a friend in our industry for more than 30 years.

 TOCA Ice Bucket Challenge (Video of the craziness.)

14 Aug 28 ALS Kristy IMG_0395

14 Aug 28 ALS Den IMG_0396 14 aug 28 ALS Barb IMG_0397 14 Aug 28 ALS The aftermath 2 IMG_0400

Can you put your company together during a noon-hour or before or after work or on a weekend and take the challenge? What a way for TOCA members to show their support for one of our leaders in the industry and someone TOCA has recognized for outstanding work.

To handle your donation to Kevin and his team for ALS research, please see note below from Kevin to TOCA.

Thank you so much for your interest. I've put all the details below, in a format that provides appropriate links to our efforts with the ALS Association. (The same association that is the focus of the 'viral' Ice Bucket Challenge, making the Challenge and our Walk to Defeat ALS more than compatible.) Here is a link for our (growing) team of family and friends, FYI. http://web.alsa.org/site/TR/Walks/GreaterNewYork?team_id=307503&pg=team&fr_id=10147

This is such an important cause. Some of us believe that the greatest advances made in the 75 years since Gehrig, have been in wheelchair technology. Believe me, the need is great.

 

TOCATalk – Summer 2014

--------------------------SPONSOR--------------------------

BASF Light Green.web

TOCATalk is proudly sponsored each issue by BASF

Supporting the industry that supports our innovation.
Bringing new products forward to advance the turf industry while creating unforgettable memories for golfers around the world.

--------------------------SPONSOR--------------------------

Letting the Good Times Roll

By Jason SchmadererJasonSchmadererPhoto.web
VP / Account Supervisor, Swanson Russell     
President, TOCA Board of Directors

New Orleans will never be the same following the 25th annual meeting held last month. Okay, maybe it will but TOCA managed to put on a darn good meeting in “The Big Easy” nonetheless. More than 80 attendees turned up in the French Quarter to celebrate 25 successful years and to hone the skills to build stronger green industry companies and brands for the next 25 years.

The measure of an organization’s vibrancy—especially after 25 years of operation—is not always easy to see. But this isn’t the case for TOCA. We welcomed a large number of first time attendees to Hotel Monteleone and this year’s festivities, while also kicking things up a notch by instituting several scheduling changes and revamping aspects of the educational sessions.  I’m a firm believer in celebrating success, particularly a milestone such as 25 years, but I’m even more interested in helping TOCA continue to grow into the type of industry organization communications professionals simply can’t afford not to be a part of.

And, as an aside, we certainly are growing. Our membership has now topped 240 and our goal of 250 members by May of 2015 is certainly attainable. Thanks to YOU who are working to make our membership numbers near an all-time high!
If this year’s meeting is an indication, we’re moving in the right direction as an organization. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Following the meeting, we asked for feedback from both attendees and non-attending members. Here’s what we heard:

- 100% of attendee members responded that the conference met their expectations
- Nearly 98% of attendees felt the educations sessions met their needs
- Well over 90% of attendees liked the scheduling changes
- 82% of non-attending members wanted to attend the conference
- Work conflicts were the most significant reason for not attending the conference

Can we continue to improve? Heck yes. And we plan to. But in the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of this organization over the years and this particular meeting.  We couldn’t do it without you. I look forward to continuing to work with each of you and continue to get to know each of you better.

Until our next TOCA gathering.

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Check out all the photos from New Orleans, click here.  A special thank you to Kyle Ellsworth, Ewing Irrigation Products Inc., for some great photos showing the flavor of the city and the meeting.
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In the French Quarter Celebrating a Quarter Century – New Orleans: The Past Faces the Present Faces the Future

By Den Gardner, Executive Director Den New Orleans

Well, it wasn’t exactly at the same level as a reunion of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Not even close I guess. But from those who were there at the beginning of TOCA and then carried on the legacy of those original members who were there – it was close. And many founding members and early leaders were there. They were the people who put TOCA on the map in 1989 and in the early 1990s. The likes of Owen Towne, Jose Milan, Jerry Roche, Cindy Code, Debbie Clayton, Pat Jones, Steve and Suz Trusty, Margaret Bell, Bill Klutho, David Cassidy, Ron Hall, Cheryl Steelberg, Helen Stone, Felicia Gillham (in spirit if not in body after her unfortunate fall in the French Quarter resulted in an early exit back to California) and more. And many are STILL involved in TOCA to this day!

And for those among the 80+ attendees who found New Orleans to be their first meeting to those who have been there a half-dozen times or more, the words of Pat Jones probably sum up the best the feeling of attendees at a TOCA meeting: “The beautiful thing about TOCA is that it’s the one place that allows us to grow our relationships with each other without all the noise, distractions and deadlines we face every hour in our jobs. Most of us spend our days trying to educate and help readers and customers. TOCA allows us a chance to recharge our batteries, learn new things and become better people and better friends. That’s indispensible.”

First, thanks to the work of the program committee – Lacy Ravencraft (chair), Kenna Rathai, Felicia Gillham and John Reitman. The revitalized program was well-received by our attendees and the survey results were very positive. (See Jason Schmaderer’s president’s column for more info.) And congrats to Lacy Ravencraft, winner of the first TOCA Volunteer Chairperson of the Year. Well-deserved. This will be an annual award moving forward.

Let’s get on to the highlights (not necessarily in chronological order):TOCA Zoo Group

• Congrats to all the golfers at Audubon Park Golf Club. No one got hurt and everybody was a winner. First place went to the team of Paul Burton/Pat Jones/Den and Dan Gardner. Second place went to the team of Owen Towne/Chuck Bowen/Mike Bigelow. Thanks to Briggs & Stratton for its sponsorship.

• The horticultural tour of the Audubon Zoo was well-received by 36 attendees.  Some highlights included: a behind-the-scenes tour by horticulturalist Dianne Weber, a history of the zoo and the refurbishing necessary after Hurricane Katrina (including maintenance and replacement of some oak trees – some as old as 400 years.)

• Recognition of Dr. Brandon Horvath of the University of Tennessee for being selected the winner of TOCA’s Environmental Communicator of the Year Award, sponsored by Project EverGreen.  Previous winners have included: Mark Welterlen, Bill Love, Tim Doppel, Doug Fender, Allen James, Rod Dodson, Jeff Gullickson, Kevin Trotta, Helen Stone, Allied Golf Associations of Colorado, Drs. Larry Stowell/Wendy Gelernter, Christopher Gray, Anthony Williams, Dr. Frank Rossi and Phil Fogarty.

• Recognition of the new TOCA Hall of Fame inducted three pioneers of the organization – Cindy Code, Pat Jones and Jerry Roche – at the recent 25th annual meeting in New Orleans.  The organization also grandfathered four previous inductees from its Distinguished Service Award program – Margaret Bell, Den Gardner, Owen Towne and Bob Tracinski – into the Hall of Fame as well.  Click here to view the presentations honoring each Hall of Famer.

• Recognition of Dr. Karl Danneberger of Golfdom for being named the Plant Health Writer of the Year, sponsored by Bayer. This was the second year of this program. Larry Aylward of Moose River Media was the first year a year ago.

• Welcome and recognition of Nathan Nordstedt of Kansas State University for being selected our TOCA scholarship winner. He was provided a $2,500 scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year. “This was an incredible learning experience,” Nordstedt said.

• Keynote speaker Paul Burton energized the crowd with his presentation on “regaining control of your day.”

• A new workshop at the TOCA meeting each year will focus on local issue reporting by journalists. This year Mark Schlefstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune and David Hammer of WWL-TV spoke of environmental issues in the New Orleans area.

• Also new this year was a series of roundtables (Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Talk Amongst Yourselves – Best Practices Roundtable Discussions)  as members moved from one table to another during four, one-half hour sessions led by peers and other experts on subjects like: How to get videos right the first time; Top apps for TOCA members; Innovative uses of social media; Making the most of your digital SLR camera; Going Mobile: online pubs, smart-phone-friendly sites, etc.; Talent development; Interviewing tips & techniques; and Mastering your world: conquering personal work challenges.

• Jason Jenkins, award-winning journalist, educated attendees on Tips for Today’s Multi-tasking Interviewer: How to Successfully Integrate Video + photography into Your One-Main-Interviewing-band.

• To close out professional development, golf course superintendent and nationally-recognized Anthony Williams inspired us about “Mastering your Craft and Maximizing Opportunities.”

• The afternoon program on Thursday concluded with the business meeting

Highlights of Major Activities by the TOCA Board Include:TOCA Beads
• Membership continues to be a major effort. The goal is 250 members by the TOCA meeting in Milwaukee in May of 2015. By the end of May 2014, TOCA membership stands at 241. TOCA membership increased from 170 in 2012 to 201 in 2013. Thanks to membership coordinator Steve Trusty and membership committee chair Ciara Ahern for their diligence.

• A second major accomplishment during the last year was Phase II of the web-site re-design. Many member activities -- from members being able to renew their memberships, enter contest payments and register for the annual meeting all online – are now a reality. In addition, more tweeting and activity on Facebook have been accomplished in the past several months than the past two years. Thanks to Kristy Mach for getting that effort off the ground. Thanks to the work done by Associated Integrated Advertising and board member Brian Schoenthaler. Work on Phase III will be studied by the board and acted upon this fall and winter.

• Election and re-election of the board. They include the following re-elected board members:  Jason Schmaderer, president; Scott Hollister, vice president; Lacy Ravencraft, secretary-treasurer; and McGavock Edwards, past president.  Elected new directors were Ciara Ahern and Marisa Palmieri. Those re-elected directors are Patty Dimucci, Jeff Cull, Dan Jacobs, Larry Aylward, Linda Frerichs, Linda Beattie, Chuck Bowen, Brian Schoenthaler, Debbie Clayton, Cindy Code, Felicia Gillham and John Reitman.

• TOCA’s annual revenue for 2014 will be about $133,000 and expenses approximately $138,000. In addition, TOCA maintains a healthy investment portfolio of approximately $88,000. This is the first year TOCA will likely show a budget deficit, but this was approved by the board in light of the 25th anniversary activities. This included members attending the annual meeting not paying for the optional tour or golf (TOCA picked up the charges for one year), creation of the 25th anniversary booklet, stipends of $500 for past presidents to attend the meeting and more.

• The TOCA writing, photography, design and new media contests had 425 entries as it went almost exclusively to an online contest submission system. This will be tweaked for 2015, but overall acceptance was excellent.  The contest committee – headed by Chuck Bowen – will review the contest and entertain suggestions at revising some of the categories for the future.

• The GCSAA Breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in 2015 will be in San Antonio Wednesday, Feb. 25.

• The Green Industry and Equipment Expo breakfast reception is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 24, 7:15 a.m., in Louisville. Bayer is the sponsor of this breakfast.

• The board agreed to continue its contribution to Project EverGreen, at the $2,500 level. This national alliance of end-user associations, companies and Green Industry suppliers educates and inform consumers about the benefits of well-maintained green spaces. TOCA publications and agencies are active in this 501c3 non-profit. Project EverGreen sponsors TOCA’s annual Environmental Communicator of the Year award program.

• The new TOCA Foundation (a proposed 501c3 public foundation) has its paperwork submitted to the IRS for approval. A decision should be known by this fall. The foundation will allow companies and individuals to make tax-deductible contributions to TOCA to fund programs for scholarships, internships, professional development for members and more.

• Work continues on opening TOCA’s first international chapter in the United Kingdom. TOCA will sponsor a half-day program at the January BIGGA show in England and host a lunch for prospective members. Ellie Parry of Forte (a marketing agency in the UK) is taking the lead in this effort.

Awards Banquet
To close out the 2014 meeting, the Awards Banquet featured:
Past Presidents
• Recognition of all past presidents in attendance (in order of service): Jerry Roche, Pat Jones, Cindy Code, Steve Trusty, David Cassidy, Bill Klutho and McGavock Edwards.

• Installation of three new TOCA Hall of Fame inductees: Jerry Roche, Cindy Code and Pat Jones. Those three join other Hall of Fame members: Owen Towne, Bob Tracinski, Margaret Bell and Den Gardner

• The communications award event – thanks to the team of Kristine White and Andrew Gillman of Performance Marketing -- was another raucous affair. Thanks to Kristine’s leadership, a masterful job was accomplished on the awards program. White and her colleagues also produced the printed program for the meeting. (TOCA Communications Contest Award Winners, Gardner Award Winners)

The TOCA board also commended Associate Director Barb Ulschmid and Senior Counselor Kristy Mach for their tremendous work on logistics and audio visual creativity for the New Orleans meeting. Also, evil twin Dan Gardner was recognized for assisting with logistics for most of the organization’s 25 years.

TOCA thanks all of its sponsors for making the meeting possible. And remember, TOCA meetings always look to the future.  While we enjoy the camaraderie, appreciate the personal networking time you can’t get done at other trade shows, and enhance your professional skills through our workshops and be recognized for your communications skills through our contests, TOCA will always be about our family of editorial and marketing professionals.  A little dysfunctional, but isn’t every family?

As TOCA looks to the next 25 years, Jerry Roche, during his thank-you comments after being inducted into the Hall of Fame, reminisced about the early days of TOCA:
“Yeah, I was the first TOCA president. But I was a skeptic from the very beginning. I simply didn’t buy into the absurd concept that Den Gardner was trying to sell; that a bunch of competitors could not only live together in peace, but we could thrive together. Boy, was I wrong! Under Den’s direction, the organization came together so fast that it still makes my head spin. In my 15 years, I had so much fun and so many laughs, learned so much, made so many good friends and retain so many wonderful memories, that it boggles the mind. Were my initial feelings about TOCA unjustified? Heck, yes – thank goodness! Here’s hoping that it’s around for another 25 years and another 25 after that.”

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2014 TOCA Contest

By Kristy Mach

The 2014 TOCA Communications Contest was the most successful contest to date.  Here is the contest, By the Numbers:TOCA Award Winners

426 Entries
65 Categories entered
32 Companies with entries

321 Entries submitted through the newly created online site
94 Entries were emailed directly to TOCA
11 Entries were mailed

The Gardner Award Winners will be featured in upcoming issues of TOCATalk.

For a complete list of the winners of this year’s Communications Contest, click here.

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TOCA Awards Two College Scholarships in Recognition of 25th Anniversary

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association awarded two scholarships for the 2014-2015 school year – to Nathan Norstedt ($2,500) and Katie Wolters ($1,000). Both students are attending Kansas State University.

TOCA normally awards one, $2,500 scholarship. In honor of the organization’s 25th anniversary, and the quality of the applicants, the scholarship committee committed an extra $1,000 this year.

“The committee (Cindy Code, Steve Trusty and Felicia Gillham) felt the strength of the candidates was such that a second scholarship should be granted,” said Den Gardner, executive director. “The caliber of the students made the decision by the committee easy. We are thrilled to provide this monetary gift to these students.”

Nathan NorstedtNordstedt, who will graduate in 2016, has a 4.0 GPA in his major -- horticulture. His overall GPA is 3.96. In his spare time he has been employed by nurseries and greenhouses. At age 15 he opened his own greenhouse and nursery business.

Nordstedt has taken a number of communications classes. “With my interest in both horticulture and communications, I hope to utilize this to educate individuals on the subject of ornamentals,” he said. He has been published a number of times in the Hutchinson Collegian.

Wolters, who will graduate in 2015, has been involved in the Kansas State Horticulture Club, the landscape contracting team and was a PLANET Student Career day competitor.  She has also received a scholarship from the Garden Writers Association.
Majoring in horticulture, she has been active in newspaper and newsletter writing. “Through my classes and internship, I have had portfolios, papers and blogs, all featuring horticulture,” she said. “Horticulture inspires me. As a landscape design major…I strive to continue seeing and designing original landscapes that also have a positive impact in people’s lives and on our environment.”

There were eight applicants for the scholarship this year.

________________________________

SPOTLIGHT ON:  Gardner Award Winners
This issue:  Chuck Bowen, GIE Media

The Professional Development team will continue to spotlight TOCA Gardner Award winners this year in each issue of TOCATalk. 

TOCATalk Profile: Chuck Bowen, editor and associate publisher, Lawn & Landscape Chuck BowenMagazine
Award: Gardner Award for Writing
By: Kyle Brown, GIE

Tell me a little bit about the background of the article.

The article was a follow up to the story we broke in the summer of 2011 about the damage Imprelis was causing throughout the Midwest. We wanted to check in with LCOs to see how they had been compensated (if at all) for the damage, and tell the story of how such widespread damage could take place.

What was your process in approaching the story?

The process was similar to any other investigative feature we do. I outlined the questions the piece needed to ask and answer, and started to dig up sources who could talk. The story was on one hand easy to do, because the company that had created and marketed Imprelis   DuPont  had exited the specialty chemical business due to its missteps. But, that also made it difficult to get the company's perspective on the story (either on or off the record) as it no longer existed. Beyond that, LCOs and other researchers were very willing to talk about what happened, both positive and negative.

What challenges did you run into while working on the story?

The main challenge was that DuPont Professional Products doesn't exist anymore. Other challenges included tracking down the best sources and verifying their claims of damage, as well as dealing with a sometimes overwhelming amount of information that I had to distill into a still very long feature.

What made everything come together for you?

What I tried to keep in mind during my reporting and writing was that whatever I published had to be useful for the larger lawn care industry. Just telling the story of what happened and the damage caused would be interesting, but wasn't news itself two years later. I had to take my questions and research to the next logical step: What does this damage and the experience of LCOs mean for the broader industry? Constantly asking that question of my sources and of myself helped me stay focused and, ultimately, helped me write the best piece I could.

_____________________________
TOCATalk Profile: McGavock Edwards

As part of the TOCA Professional Development Committee's mission to provide in-depth content to TOCA Talk, we will be showcasing TOCA members throughout the year. In this issue, Jessica Simpson of Swanson Russell profiles active TOCA member, McGavock Edwards.

 

Tell me about your current position:McGavock Edwards

I'm a Vice President with IMRE, an integrated marketing firm and the general manager of our Raleigh, NC office. IMRE is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. and we have offices in N.C., Los Angeles and New York. I'm a multi-tasking master. On any given day, you'll find me serving as a strategist, writer, coach and counselor. It's my job to make sure our clients are reaching their audiences, getting the best strategy and creative from our team, and achieving their communication and business goals.

How long have you been a TOCA member? Have you held any positions with the organization?

I've been a TOCA member for more than 12 years. Throughout that time I've had the opportunity to serve TOCA in a number of ways. We did a two-year stint as the "Awards Ceremony" agency, I led the research for and updates to our TOCA Professional Communication Standards a few years ago, and I've served as board and committee member. I'm currently in my last year as past president and serve on the branding/communications committee.

Are you involved in any other professional organizations? How do you continue to learn?

An accredited PR professional, I've been pretty active in the PR community throughout my career, both locally and nationally. Currently I sit on the Honors and Awards committee for PRSA. Over the past few years I've spent a good deal of time focusing on the integration of multiple communication disciplines (PR, social, marketing) to create successful programs for our clients. And, figuring out the best metrics and ROI is a passion. Continual learning is what I love most about this career!

Tell me about yourself outside of work.

A North Carolina native, I've never strayed too far from home. Thankfully, Raleigh is two short hours from my coastal hometown of Wilmington. I'm an only child raising an only child (Elijah, 10) with my husband, Jeff, who's a chef. Our home is typically filled with family and friends, and lots of good food and laughter.

What are you passionate about?

It could be a personal topic or something related to your career. Passions abound. I wish I had more time for helping at my son's school, working on my tennis game and writing for pleasure.

Anything unique we should know about you?

I'm an open book, so I'm not sure there's a lot people don't know.  But, here goes: I'm a great shot with both a rifle and handgun. I once danced on stage with Baryshnikov. And, there's a book written about my ancestors during the Civil War. "Widow of the South" is historical fiction, so not everything's true, but it gives a glimpse into who I came from (and where I got my name).

What do you do in your free time?

Free time? What's that?

Reading any good books?

I'm getting ready to start "The Paris Wife" which is on my book club list. The club is one of the most interesting studies in sociology that I've experienced.  It includes about 10 ladies with ages ranging from 30 to 65, from all different walks of life. Listening to their stories and learning from them is one of the coolest experiences in my recent history.

Do you have any future goals or aspirations?

I have no crazy aspirations like I had in my 20s (I was convinced I wanted to be the White House press secretary; glad that didn't pan out). Today I'm living a fulfilled life, with hopes to one day leave a legacy where I'm known for nurturing the best in those around me — my family, my friends and my colleagues.
________________

Now Accepting Applications 

John Deere Golf and Bayer CropScience are now accepting applications for the 2014 Green Start Academy. The two companies are inviting 50 assistant superintendents to attend an all-expenses-paid, two-and-a-half-day education and networking event October 15-17 at the Bayer and John Deere facilities in North Carolina. To be considered, assistant superintendents must go online (see link) to complete an application, and to submit a résumé and cover letter. Deadline for applications is June 29, 2014.
___________________________

Calendar of Events | 2014-2015

October 22-24, 2014
Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO)
Kentucky Exposition Center
Louisville, KY

October 22, 2014
TOCA Board Meeting – 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Louisville Marriott Downtown, Room: TBD
Louisville, KY

October 24, 2014
TOCA Breakfast Reception – 7:15 a.m. to 8 a.m., Bayer Media Conference – 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C105
Louisville, KY

February 25, 2015
Golf Industry Show
TOCA Breakfast Reception
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Room: TBD
San Antonio, TX

May 5-7, 2015 (Tues-Thurs)
26th annual TOCA Meeting
Milwaukee Marriott Downtown Hotel
Milwaukee, WI

---------------------------------------

New Members – Welcome!

TOCA New Members
Stephen Abernathy, Randall Reilly
Cynthia Andrews, Lebanon Turf
Sara Breyne, GCSAA
Ebony Busby, Syngenta
Brooke Carter, Cannonball
James G. Cutting, EPIC Creative
Deirdre D’Aniello, Cygnus Business Media
Karl Danneberger, The Ohio State University
Lisa S. Darrish, Cannonball
Todd Dechant, OxCart Products
Sharon DeWolfe, Jacobsen
Laura Drotleff, Meister Media
Bill Elverman, PKA Marketing
Melanie Fernandes, Syngenta
Rob Ghosh, Moose River Media
Glenn Gray, Buffalo Communications
Kerry Brooks Henderson, Gibbs & Soell
Steve Hughes, Masport Ltd.
Mark Ingbritson, Charleston Orwig
Craig Jakubek, Syngenta
Lindsay Johnson, EPIC Creative
Brian J. Laurent, Propel Solutions
Jeffrey Litrenta, EPIC Creative
Kristina McHale, Access Intelligence
Sherry Moss Mitchell, Nufarm Americas
Lyndsey Beam Newnam, Gibbs & Soell
Kristen Oakley, Syngenta
Jennifer Oliveri, Syngenta
Sherri K. Oosterhouse, The Content Shop
Doug Outman, Cannonball
Sara Pines, Honda Power Equipment
Ron Piskula, EPIC Creative
Katie Powell, Munro Companies
Sarah Provancher, GIE + EXPO
Dave Ravel, Syngenta
Brielle Stephenson, Syngenta
Sean Valk, Syngenta
Monica Vansaghi, Cannonball
Peter Van Schaack, Syngenta
Lauren Welker, Cannonball
Tracy Whelpley, Cannonball

 

 

 

 

TOCA 25th Annual Meeting – Award Winners

The 25th Annual TOCA meeting in New Orleans, LA was a success.

On Wednesday, May 7, the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association recognized the 2014 Plant Health Writer of the Year and the 2014 Environmental Communicator of the Year.

2014 TOCA Plant Health Writer of the Year - Karl Danneberger, Ph.D.

2014 Environmental Communicators of the Year - Brandon Horvath, Ph.D.

The TOCA Communications Contest Awards and TOCA Hall of Fame Awards were handed out at the annual awards banquet on Thursday, May 8.

Click on the links to access the complete list of TOCA Communications Contest Award Winners and the Gardner Award Winners.  A special thank you to all our 2014 TOCA Contest Judges.

 

Cindy Code, Jerry Roche and Pat Jones were recognized for their contributions to TOCA and inducted into the TOCA Hall of Fame.

Thank you to all the contestants, nominees and attendees and congratulations to all those who were recognized at the 25th Annual TOCA Meeting.

TOCA 25th Anniversary Booklet Highlights History of Organzation!

Thanks to the research and writing of Steve and Suz Trusty, design by Leslie Delzell, and input from a cast of thousands, learn about the 25-year history of TOCA, from the organizational meeting in MinneaTOCA 25 Coverpolis in the late 1980s to the first annual meeting in Atlanta and so much more. It's amazing how some of us still look the same as we did 25 years ago -- NOT!

Enjoy this magical mystery tour as you learn about how an organization starts from stratch and builds itself up to a thriving association.

Thanks to all who have made TOCA what it is today!

TOCA 25th Anniversary Booklet

TOCATalk – Spring 2014

--------------- Sponsor ---------------   

BASF Light Green.web        Supporting the industry that supports our innovation.

Thank you to TOCA and all of its members for their commitment to the turf profession.
See you in New Orleans for the very special 25th TOCA Annual Meeting.
 
TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored each issue by BASF

--------------- Sponsor ---------------    

 

Four Compelling Reasons to Attend the TOCA Annual Meeting

By Jason Schmaderer
VP / Account Supervisor, Swanson Russell       JasonSchmadererPhoto.web
President, TOCA Board of Directors

I think we can all agree as communications professionals, we’ve got busy lives. If your days resemble mine in any way, you know your way around your office conference rooms (blindfolded) and your Outlook calendar is downright abused.  So when the decision to attend another off-site conference presents itself, I realize you need to step back and ask yourself if it’s really worth the time and effort. Perhaps, more importantly, you need to have solid rationale to put in front of your supervisor.

As an attendee of TOCA’s annual meeting for many, many years, I strongly believe there is a compelling case for attendance. Here are a few:

  1. TOCA goes beyond faces and names. If you want to be an insider in the green industry, you need to attend the TOCA Annual Meeting. Where else will you get three days of interaction with other key players in the industry, share ideas, make connections/friendships and simply learn more about the industry? Nowhere. This event rewards attendees who get involved and take the initiative to get to know others within the industry – whether they are influencers, competitors or prospects. It’s a powerful mixture that pays dividends now and in the future.
  2.  You get targeted professional development.  We all attend local professional development seminars through PRSA, AMA, AAF and countless other acronym-using organizations to refine and broaden our skills and capabilities. TOCA provides the opportunity to do it in a way that directly relates to the work we are asked to do on a daily basis. Just look at the seminars offered at this year’s meeting and you will quickly see that TOCA is a must for members who want to improve their skills.
  3.  Industry support. It’s easy to write a check to support a cause in the green industry. And I suspect every organization involved with TOCA supports many of them. I believe attending the annual meeting supports the industry in another way – it shows a deep commitment for communications professionalism and expertise. In a time when our industry requires quality communications – from reporting to marketing – we need the best and brightest doing the work. That’s where we come in and that’s where TOCA comes in.
  4.  It’s fun. Plain and simple. When you sprinkle some enjoyment into the recipe, it’s hard to argue that the TOCA Annual Meeting isn’t a no-brainer. Don’t get me wrong, this meeting is “all business” but business is best done when you have a smile on your face and you’re looking forward to sitting next to someone you were hoping to get to chat with while you’re enjoying some great New Orleans cuisine.

I could go on but I think you get the point. In fact, I’m sure many of you could add quite a few more reasons rather quickly. I’ll end with a simple invitation – please consider joining me and many of your fellow members at the annual meeting this year in New Orleans. It’s well worth your investment.

TOCA Set to Open First International Chapter in the UK by End of Year

TOCA looks at another major initiative in its 25th anniversary year Toca25thLogo.web

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

A TOCA international chapter in the United Kingdom (UK) is a real possibility after several meetings recently at the Golf Industry Show in Orlando.

I was able to meet with Ellie Parry, who owns a public relations consultancy in England, who joined TOCA and attended the TOCA breakfast in Orlando. Following is a summary of my discussions with Ellie, as well as a tentative agreement to put on a half-day workshop just prior to the BIGGA (The British and International Golf Greenskeepers Association) golf industry show (BTME)  in the UK next January.

Our goal is to use the UK experience as a template to grow other chapters in Europe and elsewhere in the future. This effort has the support of TOCA President Jason Schmaderer, Vice-President Scott Hollister and Past President McGavock Edwards.

  • The chapter in the UK (upon  final approval of course by the TOCA board in May) would become official in 2015 and be used as a template for other areas of Europe and beyond in subsequent years.
  • The TOCA board approved a $1,000 stipend to Ellie to attend the New Orleans meeting to network and attend the TOCA board meeting to further discuss plans with leadership and other TOCA members.
  • Ellie believes there is a possibly of 25 members in the UK. We would send them TOCA Talk free and include international information in all upcoming TOCA Talk newsletters.
  • The possibility might present itself for TOCA to put on a half-day program and lunch at the annual BTME education conference and trade show in January of 2015. The show is managed by the BIGGA . I will be there to assist with the workshop.  It's likely there may be one or two TOCA members and U.S. green industry editors at this meeting.
  • We have received initial support thus far from BASF, Bayer, John Deere, GCSAA, Schiller and others to help us launch this effort in terms of contacts for membership and other potential assistance.
  • We are also hopeful that announcing this initiative will get more international entries in the TOCA contest this year.
  • I will work with Ellie to get a list of prospective members (media and agencies/companies/associations) to send contest information to so entries can be gathered for the April 1 deadline (international deadline). The U.S. deadline is March 7, as you know.

While at GIS, I also meet with Sami Strutt, BIGGA Learning & Development Manager, to further discuss opportunities for the January BTME Show in Harrogate and TOCA's involvement.

  • Sami supports the idea of a half-day TOCA professional development workshop on Monday of the show, followed by a lunch sponsored by TOCA (and possibly local sponsors). She sees editors, PR/Advertising specialists and greenskeepers as finding interest in this workshop.
  • We would be included in the "education programme" and those signing up would be handled through BIGGA.
  • Topics of likely discussion at the workshop would be social media and creative writing. Den would provide a brief session on TOCA and the plans for Europe and beyond.
  • Sami will provide a media list.
  • Incentives for the workshop might include applying the workshop fee to the first year's membership of TOCA.

This effort is another key initiative by TOCA as we set sail on our next 25 years. There are many more details to come. I look forward to your questions and comments.

25th Annual TOCA Meeting – “In the French Quarter Celebrating a Quarter Century”  

By Den GardnerTOCAAnnualMeetingLogo.web
Executive Director

(Portions reprised from January TOCA TALK)

More workshops, more networking, more recognition for our members and more fun are on the menu (literally and figuratively) because TOCA is embarking on the premiere annual meeting of its 25-year history.

The theme of our 25th anniversary meeting is: “In the French Quarter Celebrating a Quarter Century.” And the meeting is set for the quaint and award-winning Hotel Monteleone, nestled beautifully within New Orleans French Quarter. The meeting will be held May 6-8.

If you’re looking for the specific “tentative” agenda, shoot right to the bottom of this article. And head right for our web site at: www.toca.org. The registration form is ready for you to sign up. Suffice it to say the foundation is in place with a revised format that has some special items that will be free of charge this year as a special way for us to say thanks for being a member of TOCA.

Here are the meeting highlights:

Hotel Monteleone

Hotel Monteleone

Carousel-Bar-and-Lounge

Carousel Bar & Lounge, Hotel Moteleone

Audubon Golf Course

Audubon Golf Course

alligator_feed

Audubon Zoo

TUESDAY

  • Arrivals Tuesday during the day. Ad Hoc business meeting. (Board meets from 2-5 p.m., followed by dinner.) Informal TOCA member gathering in the Carousel Bar & Lounge set for 6:30 p.m.

 WEDNESDAY

  • New format begins the program on Wednesday morning. The program will include recognition of legacy leaders/past presidents, student scholarship, Plant Health Writer of the Year and Environmental Communicator of the Year winners.
  • Keynote address Paul Burton. Regaining Command of Your Day.
  • Fully-sponsored tour Wednesday afternoon. New this year, and in celebration of our 25th anniversary, attending members can choose from a round of golf at the Audubon Park Golf Course, followed by a behind-the scenes groundskeeper tour of the Audubon Park/Zoo. All is FREE for TOCA members.

THURSDAY

  • Early-morning Thursday jog. The optional jog around the French Quarter and beyond is scheduled. The route will be available soon on the web site and it will be about three miles.
  • Insight into Local Business and Environmental Reporting. This session will feature environmental writer Mark Schliefstein of the Times-Picayune covering New Orleans and surrounding areas with a slant toward environmental issues such as the gulf spill and wetlands restoration. Also appearing on this panel workshop is David Hammer, investigative reporter with WWL-TV in New Orleans (former reporter with the Times-Picayune). Hammer has covered Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.
  • Tips for Today’s Multi-tasking Interviewer. This session with Jason Jenkins will cover tips and best practices for those who wear multiple hats when interviewing that may include serving as photographer, videographer and more.
  • Former environmental communicator of the year winner Anthony Williams will provide a session on “Mastering Your Craft and Maximizing Opportunities.”
  • Roundtable Sessions. These best-practices peer roundtables will be led by various experts (some TOCA members) on a variety of topics, such as traveling on a limited budget, using a DSLR camera, social media and more.
  • Business Meeting concludes afternoon. Are you ready for excitement? The business meeting brings members up to date on all the activities of the organization, including the new foundation.
  • Evening Awards Reception/Banquet. Learn about our communications contest winners and the TOCA Hall of Fame inductees.
  • Optional “Stay-Over” Tour. Join your TOCA peers and guests on Friday morning (after our meeting) for an optional non-sponsored Culinary Crawl in the French Quarter! Experience a cooking demonstration, learn the basics of Louisiana cooking, and appreciate the differences between Cajun and Creole cuisine as you tour historic restaurants and sample their culinary contributions.

Yes indeed: TOCA is set to be “In the French Quarter Celebrating a Quarter Century.”

Thanks to our annual program committee – Felicia Gillham, Kenna Rathai, John Reitman and Lacy Ravencraft – for their excellent work.  What follows is a more detailed agenda for this year’s meeting.

2014 TOCA AGENDA  (May 6-8, 2014) Register Here

Tuesday, May 6

All Day – Travel/Taking Care of Business (Ad Hoc Business Meetings by TOCA members at leisure)

2:00-5:00 p.m. – Board Meeting

6:00 p.m. – Informal TOCA Member Meet-up (non-hosted) – Carousel Bar & Lounge

7:00-9:00 p.m. – Board Dinner (by invitation only)

Non-board members: dinner on own

Wednesday, May 7

8:00 a.m.         Registration Opens

9:00 a.m.         Welcome: Presidential Remarks; Recognition of Board & 1st Timers; Recognition of Legacy Leaders/Past Presidents; Agenda Overview; Student Scholarship; Plant Health WTY Award; ENVR Communicator of the Year Award; Networking with Personal Interests; Meeting Overview.

9:45 a.m.         Session I (20min): ENVR Communicator Presents - will discuss overview of projects/activities that contributed to winning the award.

10:05 a.m.       Break (10min)

10:15 a.m.       Session II (Keynote) (1.5hrs) – Paul Burton, Done! Strategies for Regaining Command of Your Day

11:45               Break (30min)

12:15               Depart for Afternoon Activity – Golf or Group Tour

Golf:  boxed lunch for car pools; Audubon Park Golf Club

Group tour: boxed lunch, Audubon Zoo (private tour of zoo with director of horticulture)

6:45 p.m.         Meet in lobby to walk to off-site dinner at Acme Oyster House

7:00 p.m.         Dinner at Acme Oyster House

Thursday, May 8

7:15 a.m.         Runners Unite (Optional) – Join fellow TOCA members for a 3-mile run. Specific route TBD

8:30 a.m.         Breakfast + Ad-Hoc Committee Meetings

9:30 a.m.         Session I (1hr, 20 min) – Insight into Local Reporting:  Mark Schliefstein of the Times-Picayune; and David Hammer of WWL-TV, New Orleans. Moderated by John Reitman, TurfNet. Followed by Q&A.

10:50 a.m.       Break (10min)

11:00 a.m.       Session II (1hr) – Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Talk Amongst Yourselves -- Best Practices Roundtable Discussions [Part A]: Choose two topics that interest you. Participate in two, 30-minute facilitator-led, roundtable format peer discussions. (Groups will switch at 11:30)

12:00 p.m.       Lunch (1hr)

1:00 p.m.         Session III (1.5hr) – Jason Jenkins, Tips for Today’s Multi-Tasking Interviewer: How to Successfully Integrate Video + Photography into your One-Man-Interviewing-Band.

2:30 p.m.         Break (15min)

2:45 p.m.         Session IV (1hr) – Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Talk Amongst Yourselves -- Best Practices Roundtables [Part B]: Choose two additional topics that interest you. Participate in two, 30-minute facilitator-led, roundtable format peer discussions. (groups will switch at 3:15)

3:45 p.m.         Session V (45min) - Anthony Williams, Mastering Your Craft and Maximizing Opportunities

4:30 p.m.         Business Meeting: Election of board, other appropriate business, closing remarks

5:00 p.m.         Adjourn

6:30 p.m.         Reception

7:30 p.m.         Awards Banquet & TOCA Hall of Fame Award

Friday, May 9 (Optional Activity)

Informal breakfast on own, head home at leisure

TOCA Friday optional activities:  New Orleans Culinary History Tours!

Are you staying in New Orleans for an extra day or two? Sample local cuisine, discover the difference between Cajun and Creole cooking, and learn about New   Orleans' most celebrated and historic restaurants with one of the New Orleans Culinary History Tours. These are not TOCA sponsored, so sign up on your own, but be sure to sign up early, as there is limited availability.

1--French Quarter Culinary History Tour & Tasting:  2pm-5pm, $46

Learn how New Orleans' unique cuisine evolved and visit historic restaurants

2--New Orleans Cooking School Culinary Experience:  10am-3:30pm, $75

All the French Quarter Tasting has to offer, but beginning with a cooking demonstration to learn the basics of Louisiana cooking. Includes lunch.

3--New Orleans Classic Drinks Tour:  4pm-6pm, $60

Immerse yourself in the unique drinking and cocktail culture of New Orleans

More details can be found at:  http://noculinarytours.com

Purchase tickets here:  http://www.zerve.com/Culinary

 

Hello to Kristy Mach

(Editor’s Note: Kristy Mach joined the staff of TOCA in January. She will be playing a major role in TOCA over the next few years, assisting Barb and Kathy in a number of initiatives for the organization. Here is a first-person account from Kristy about her life, her career and her family.)

Sullivan (6), Kristy, Tom, Sophia (10) Mach

Sullivan (6), Kristy, Tom, Sophia (10) Mach

I’ve known Den for six years as executive director of the New Prague Chamber of Commerce.  He golfed in our golf outings, ran our Half Marathon & 5K, provided awards and always popped in with a friendly hello.  When I notified my Board in the fall of 2013 that it was time to move on, Den stopped in for a chat.

Den said tell me your story.  So I did.  I am originally from Oshkosh, WI.  My whole family attended UW-Madison, but I was the black sheep and went to UW-Oshkosh.  I played soccer and graduated with a degree in Communications, an emphasis in Radio/TV/Film.  After an internship with CBS News in New York, I moved back to Wisconsin and started producing the news at the FOX affiliate in Green Bay.

After a St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Chicago, I decided to move.  (Who wouldn’t after a weekend like that?)  I landed a great job doing business-to-business marketing with Hyatt Hotels Corporation.  A great opportunity to learn from a couple of industry pros, from marketing to meeting planning to the ins and outs of business and incentive travel.  We did four major industry trade shows a year and so I got to travel to a lot of fun destinations and eat well!

I also met my husband, Tom.  He landed in Chicago after receiving an engineering degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.  He said he was from a suburb of the Twin Cities of Minnesota.  I believed him until I visited New Prague.  When more than 40 cornfields separate you from the next town, you are NOT a suburb.

We have been married for 11 years, have two kids – Sophia, 10, and Sullivan, 6 – and yes, six years ago, landed in New Prague.

Back to Den’s visit.  My story seemed to resonate – washed-up-old-news-person-turned-marketing/PR/communications-professional.  He asked me “What’s next?”  I joked, “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.”  He replied laughing: “Neither do I.”   After a few meetings, here I am, and I couldn’t be happier.

I look forward to working with TOCA – hoping it improves my golf game and missing green thumb – and meeting you all in New Orleans in May.  ~ Kristy Mach

 

Website Update

By Brian Schoenthaler
Associated Integrated Marketing
TOCA Board Member

The Phase Two website upgrade is finally done and I hope you all have had the opportunity to either renew your membership, or register for our upcoming Annual Meeting using the new tools of toca.org.

This upgrade now allows you to register your membership, and the membership of others in your company’s group at one time without having to do so in separate sessions. Registering for the Annual Meeting can be accomplished and paid for online. Contest entries can be filled out and paid for one-at-a-time or multiple entries can be filled out and sent in at the same time. The new system also allows you to save your “session” and come back and continue filling out entries at a later date before submitting them.

Payments can be made using the online payment system that allows the entry of your credit card through PayPal. These transactions are safe and secure.

Moving forward, we hope to add features to the membership section that will allow each member to upload their photo to their membership listing. Other enhancements are under discussion for Phase Three.

We hope you enjoy the new functionality of the TOCA website and we welcome your feedback.

Learn more about your TOCA Team

TOCA Member Profile #3: Steve Trusty

Steve Trusty

Steve Trusty

By Kyle Brown

Kyle Brown (KB):  Steve Trusty is TOCA’s membership coordinator, reaching out to new prospective members and pushing for our goal of 250 active members by the end of 2015. Trusty has been with TOCA for more than 24 years (and has only missed two annual meetings), and he’s currently the president of Trusty & Associates – though he’s held quite a few titles in the green industry throughout his career.

Steve Trusty (ST):  We write for a lot of different magazines, and have for many years. We write on behalf of client, do a lot of ghostwriting and photography. We do market research and general public relations work for both consumer and trade publications.

KB Where do you live?

ST:  We’re in Council Bluffs, Iowa, right next to Omaha. Our oldest daughter is in Tuscon with her daughter and her three grandchildren, our son is in the Kansas City area with his family. My wife, Suz, and I have lived in this house for 38 years out in the country with four acres and a lot of wildlife. I like being out in the country with the changes in the seasons.

KB:  What do you do outside the job?

ST:  We’re very active in our church with younger kids and drama and various other activities. That’s where we spend most of our time away from home. I teach fourth graders and my wife is a coach for fifth and sixth graders. We’ve been involved in the music team and drama in costuming and directing and acting and teaching and whatever’s needed.

We belong to both the Omaha Community Playhouse – which is the largest in the country – and the Council Bluffs Chanticleer Community Theatre. Suz and I have been involved in theatre most of my life. I was just involved in stage crew in high school. We just love live theatre and live music.

FUN FACT: I tried out for the part of Curly in Carousel, but I didn’t even make the chorus – which was OK, I don’t mind working behind the scenes.

KB:  Wow, it’s a shame you never got to be on stage.

ST:  Well, I did sing in the Barbershop Harmony Society for 20 some years and ran their conventions. I started that just out of school until about 1991. I was a city forester and one of the tree trimmers that worked with me said, “Tomorrow night’s guest night for the barbershop chorus. I have to have a guest, and you’re mine.” And that’s how it started. I sang in the chorus and I was in charge of the twice-a-year convention for the Central States District.

FUN FACT: I also managed the Sports Turf Managers Association for nine years, so I’ve also done association management, and I was executive director of the Nebraska Association of Nurserymen at one point.

KB:  Is there a segment of the industry you haven’t had a hand in?

ST:  I guess my favorite part of the turf industry is just that I like seeing people enjoying what they’re doing, whether it’s gardening or whatever. I did a radio show for eight years because I wanted people to get more enjoyment out of gardening, a two-hour call-in show each Saturday. I never had a problem getting enough calls to fill the time. And I did Trusty Tips on TV for a number of years as well for a Council Bluffs cable station. The local ABC affiliate had me doing segments for the evening news from the spring into the summer of the early 90s. I did an hour-long show on satellite TV that was a combination guest and call-in format that went all over the world. It was interesting because I got calls from Mexico and Brazil and Germany and sometimes it was challenging to understand them but it was an awful lot of fun.

Suz and I wrote a gardening book that is still available, Easy Gardening: Tips from Garden Professionals, and I’ve contributed to several other books, too. I’ve written columns for the local newspaper, too.

FUN FACT: I don’t blog, not yet. I think I started one, one time during a garden writers’ association meeting as part of a session, but I never kept up with it.

KB:  So you do all that writing, plus photography?

ST:  Photography started out as a hobby. But I’ve done a lot of photography on assignment for the industry, and I’ve won several awards. There was on July where I had the cover photo on four different industry magazines, so I count that as a point of pride.

We’re also very active with the Omaha Zoo, where we’re part of the zoo’s photo club. We both do volunteer work photographing animals, events and baby births. We’ve gotten in a lot of behind-the-scene things that have been a lot of fun.

FUN FACT: The toughest animal I’ve ever photographed would have to be a giraffe, because they’re just so tall. We’ve had some baby giraffes, where when you need to get the mother and baby together, it’s tough to get far enough away to get a clear shot of both. Although, I’ve been to Kenya five times for mission trips and seen them running in the wild, and they’re much easier to photograph that way. 

TOCA Award Winners Take a Bow

(Editor’s Note:  The TOCA Professional Development Committee highlights three 2013 Gardner Award winners in this issue.)

First, committee member Katie Tuttle (GIE) spoke to Scott Hollister, editor-in-chief of Golf Course Management:

Scott Hollister

Scott Hollister

Katie: Could you please briefly describe your winning project?

Scott: This particular photo was submitted to us by Greg Leach, the assistant superintendent at Lubbock (Texas) Country Club, and showcased a dust storm that overtook his course during the winter of 2011. A powerful cold front, with 70 mph straight line winds, that blew in following a long period of drought kicked up this dust storm.

Katie: What made you decide to do this project?

Scott: Final Shot was an idea that was borne out of the increasing use of digital photography by golf course superintendents in their everyday work lives, to document what they're seeing on the golf course, projects they're undertaking, etc. Since cameras have become as common in a superintendent's cart as a soil probe of Stimpmeter, we wanted to find a way to recognize the art and science of the superintendent profession, and also highlight their photography work, as well.

Katie: What was your strategy in approaching this work?

Scott: Not much strategy with a photo as impactful as this one … just let the image do the talking, which it obviously did.

Katie: The category you won in is "Photography, Video and Multimedia – Publishing.” How is this different from a "typical" article?

Scott: Since this is a photo feature highlighting the work of superintendents and GCSAA members, quite a bit different than "typical" articles on several fronts. Largely, though, it's one of the few ways we recognize the photographic work of superintendents.

Katie: Anything else you’d like to share?

Scott: We have been extremely pleased at how our readership and how GCSAA members have reacted to the Final Shot feature. We get more submissions than we could ever begin to publish, which allows us to be somewhat selective in our choices. We're glad the TOCA judges saw the same things in this photo that we did.

Next up, Committee Member Jessica Simpson (Swanson-Russell) spoke to Tyler Kavanaugh, Lead Graphic Designer, Ewing Irrigation:

Jessica:  What was the goal or strategy of your project?

Tyler:  The goal of this project is to create a memorable invitation package that both Tyler Kavanaugh_Spotlight on TOCAAward_pixsets the tone for our annual customer appreciation golf event, and creates a sense of prestige around the invitees’ trip to Arizona. Each year, this event challenges us to push ourselves to design a better package than in previous years. It’s an exciting project that we like to have fun with—selecting new and beautiful materials, experimenting with printing techniques, and whatever other creative ideas we come up with to contribute toward a showpiece that represents our vision.

Jessica:  Can you describe the process you took?

Tyler:  I started this project with a ton of sketches and concepts. I knew we wanted to showcase the beautiful state of Arizona and its environment. The purpose of the package was to easily inform the viewer of the event and what to expect. I developed a system that organized the important information, worked together visually and was easy to read. I created a contact card that invitees could put in their wallets, and mini agenda that they could carry with them. As a keepsake, we created bag tags for their luggage and golf bags for use at the event.

Jessica:  What were the challenges you faced?

Tyler:  This is typically the most complex project of the year, with many pieces and many people involved. Not only did we create invitations and a pre-event packet, but we also needed to design signage, name tags, the website and many more accompanying items. I worked with the Marketing Department, Customer Relations and the Sales Teams three months prior to the event. We have six different groups of customers that all get different information in their invitations and pre-event packets. Managing all the due dates, working with various vendors for printing, and sending the correct information to the right customers, can be very challenging. In order to keep everything in order, I made lists, updated them each day and spent a lot of time planning.

Jessica: What was the outcome of the project? Was it successful?

Tyler:  The project was very successful. The images chosen really showcased the beauty of Arizona. Many of the guests and employees commented on the paper choice, printing techniques and overall beauty of the presentation. The overall package was sophisticated and set the tone for the week’s exciting festivities.

Next, Ciara Ahern (Global Prairie) spoke to Emily Ezekiel from Total Landscape Care about her 2013 Gardner Award for Design – Publishing:

Could you please briefly describe your winning project?

Emily Ezekiel (EE):  The article featured a very talented landscape architect whose work is artistic and organic. However, it has structure and balance, with touches of whimsy.

CA:  What was your strategy in approaching this work? What influenced your approach?

EE:  My approach to the design layout was to first highlight the landscape architect's work and reflect his design aesthetic. The goal was to tell his story visually. This was accomplished by balancing structure and spacing, as well as the use of minimalistic fonts. The headline, "Elemental Design," sets the tone of the article, designing with the basics of layout design in mind – structure and balance, with the large pull quotes creating a bit of whimsy throughout the layout.

CA:  What do you think helped you win this year?

EE:  The effectiveness of visually relating the architect's designs to the layout design.

CA:  Anything else you’d like to share?

EE:  As a graphic artist, I appreciate the artistry that goes into landscape design. Much like admiring an artist's work, I admire this landscape architect's artistic approach to his designs. It was a pleasure to work on this piece, and I enjoyed visually showcasing his work.

TOCA Membership News

By Kathy Heyda, TOCA Membership Director

TOCA Membership Update

At the end of February 2014 our membership total for this year is 160.  We have received 116 renewals and we have received 44 new memberships.  If you have not renewed your membership yet, please do that right away.  Your TOCA membership must be current before submitting an entry in the Communications Contest, entries in which must be postmarked no later than March 7.

You may pay dues with a check made payable to the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Send it to 605   Columbus Ave. South, PO Box 156, New Prague, MN 56071.  Or you may pay dues online with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX) at www.toca.org.  If you go to our website, look under Membership to get an application or to pay with a credit card.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It's only $125 per year for the first member from your organization and $75 for the second member and subsequent members from your organization. The first member renewing/joining from a company will receive a Group Number to be used on subsequent renewals.  In this way your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.

To quickly and easily add a New Member to your group, visit https://www.toca.org/members/.  In this section you can also easily apply for communications awards, view the member directory (updated quarterly), update your organization’s information, and more.  If it is your first time to access the new members section, you will need to set up a password using the email address with which you registered.  The digital edition of the TOCA Membership Directory (updated once a year) will be updated soon.  You will be able to view this directory only if your membership is current.

Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of membership. We also hope you will ask others in your office to join TOCA who haven't heard of us. Please don't hesitate to call the TOCA office at 952-758-6340 with questions about your membership.

 

Fifty Attend TOCA Breakfast at GIS

TOCA's 18th annual breakfast at the Golf Industry Show brought a crowd of 50 current and prospective members to the Rosen Centre in Orlando in early February. Executive Director Den Gardner updated the group on organization activities. The attendees also heard from Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen, who provided an update on current projects. TOCA has been an active member and sponsor of Project EverGreen for more than 10 years.

The breakfast was sponsored by FMC and GCSAA. Following the breakfast, media met with FMC officials to discuss new product offerings by the company.

Maureen Thompson, Business Manager for Turf and Ornamental Solutions, FMC Professional Solutions, presents information about Triple Crown Golf insecticide.

Maureen Thompson, Business Manager for Turf and Ornamental Solutions, FMC Professional Solutions, presents information about Triple Crown Golf insecticide.

 GIS photo_McGavock,Cindy (6) GIS photo_JasonSchmaderer (8) GIS photo_Group (11) GIS photo_DebbieClayton (7) GIS photo (10) GIS photo (9)

The 9th Annual TOCA International Communications Awards Program

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), a United States-based professional marketing communications organization for the Green Industry, is pleased to announce its ninth international program to recognize best writing, design and photography throughout the world.

The program is sponsored by International Syngenta Professional Products.

Download Information Sheet and Entry Form Here 

Valent and Nufarm Join Forces in the U.S. Turf, Ornamental and Aquatics Market

Valent U.S.A. Corporation (“Valent”) and Nufarm Americas Inc. (“Nufarm”) announced at the Golf Industry Show that Valent has entered into an agreement that appoints Nufarm as the exclusive distributor of its branded products for professional turf, ornamental and aquatic uses in the United States. The two companies will combine the product portfolios of the two companies into one broad portfolio that will be sold by Nufarm in the U.S.

“This partnership will unite two highly complementary businesses to bring our customers one of the largest and most complete portfolios in the industry,” said Andy Lee, executive vice president and chief operations officer at Valent. “Combining our strengths in technical development, product development and operational activities will enable accelerated delivery of innovative, value-added solutions to the turf, ornamental and aquatics market.”

Darryl Matthews, general manager for Nufarm in North America, added, “We are excited to join forces with Valent to create substantial value for our customers. We each bring complementary strengths to the market, and by combining these resources with customer collaboration, we will generate new and innovative solutions that uniquely fit the needs of the market.”

For more information, contact Brian Rund at: brian.rund@us.nufarm.com.

Valent Nufarm

Calendar of Events | 2014

March 7, 2014
TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline

April 1, 2014
TOCA International Communications Contest entries deadline

May 6-8, 2014 (Tuesday-Thursday)
25th annual TOCA Meeting
The Hotel Monteleone
New Orleans, LA                                                                                               http://hotelmonteleone.com/

TOCA New Members – Welcome!

Alexis Abel, Swanson Russell

Sara Bojar, Bader Rutter

William Brown, Turf Republic

Richard Burns, Bayer

Maureen Clark, Dow AgroSciences

Jason DeSarle, Moose River Media

Dave Folkens, Padilla Speer Beardsley

Molly Gase, North Coast Media

Andrew Jay Gillman, Performance Marketing

Amber Graves, Padilla Speer Beardsley

Angela Hartmann, GCSAA

Joe Jancsurak, GIE Media

Patty Lavelle, Swanson Russell

Pat McSparin, PBI Gordon

Sarah Pfledderer, North Coast Media

Lenise Phillips, Irrigation Assocation

Stephanie Riekhof, Swanson Russell

Mike Ruizzo, Bayer

Mark Schneid, Bayer

Brian Tepper, Bayer

Katie Tuttle, GIE Media