The Smart Garden: Plant with Purpose Blog Post

Gardner Award Winner for Writing for Company Website – Original Content – Marketing
By Debbie Clayton

Kyle Ladenburger

We asked Kyle Ladenburger, director of regulatory affairs for EnP Investments, LLC, the following questions about his award for the blog post, “The Smart Garden: Plant with Purpose.”

Please briefly describe your winning project.

The project I submitted was an essay on how to design and execute a garden to best fit each individual gardener. I focused on ways to streamline a garden and the space it inhabits in a fashion that results in less waste and promotes much more overall productivity and pleasure. The core idea is creating a garden to reflect a gardener’s true tastes and bring maximum enjoyment, instead of anxiety and stress. 


What were your main objectives in developing this project?

My goal was to show people there are ways to create a bountiful and productive garden that is completely manageable and not overwhelming. Many gardeners start with gardens that are too big and lack focus and foresight. After getting through half a season, it often becomes daunting for them. In the face of such a monumental task, they tend to give up and the enjoyment of gardening disappears. My objective was to present a piece debunking the idea that “bigger is better” and show people that it’s possible to go big in a small way.

What influenced your approach?

The piece came from my own experience as a gardener for more than 10 years. Through trial, error, hindsight and focus, my garden evolved into what it is today: a smarter, more thoughtfully executed garden that has little waste, doesn’t take up all of my free time, and provides excellent harvests throughout the season. The piece takes the reader through my journey – from learning how to properly design a garden to preserving a harvest for future use. I hope the reader can learn from my experiences and get off to the best start possible.

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

I think its simplicity makes this piece stand out. It shows a reader that, with proper thought and dedication, a simple and manageable garden is within basically everyone’s grasp. Gardening should be enjoyable. We shouldn’t have to look at it like a chore. I wanted to show everyone how easy it can be to create a focused garden with a real purpose. I believe my piece broke things down in a manner that simplifies the process, showing what is accessible to all. 

31st Annual TOCA Meeting – Mile High Education Opportunity

By Kristy Mach

The TOCA program committee is about to embark on planning for the 31st annual meeting in Denver. Block out April 28-30, 2020, and get ready for some mile-high education and tours!

Picture by @canusatouristik

Colorado is becoming known for a different type of green, having legalized cannabis in 2014. The program committee will be looking at all available opportunities when planning educational sessions, golf and tours in Denver.

The meeting will take place at the Crown Plaza Denver. A negotiated rate of $179/night will be available to all attendees. If you’d like to come in early or stay on after the meeting, the TOCA rate is available three days pre- and post-meeting. You may need to call in to receive the rate, but it’s a great opportunity to explore the Mile High City. Find things to do at Visit Denver.

As the classic John Denver Rocky Mountain High song goes…

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

No matter your age, when you attend a TOCA Annual Meeting you “find a key” to a renewed enthusiasm for your work, the green industry and the TOCA organization. We won’t get crazy and “try to touch the sun,” but we will keep the professional development, friendships, awards and memories we make in Denver alive for another year.

If you have any educational or tour stops you’d like to program committee to consider, please contact Kristy Mach at 952-758-6340 or kristymach@gandgcomm.com. See you in Denver!

FX Luminaire Product Catalog, Landscape Lighting

Gardner Award Winner for Design – Marketing Communications: Printed collateral – overall collateral design
By Dawn Rigby, Managing Director at Xylem Marketing

Steve Sharp

We asked Hunter Industries’ Steve Sharp, principal designer on the Creative Development team, and Ryan William, director of marketing, the following questions about their winning project “FX Luminaire Product Catalog, Landscape Lighting.”

Please briefly describe your winning project.

The project is a product catalog for our landscape lighting brand, FX Luminaire. Primarily, distributors and contractors use the catalog. FX Luminaire is known for its superior products, constant innovation and excellent customer service.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

Ryan Williams

Our objective was to design a catalog that clearly communicates to customers that FX Luminaire manufactures highly efficient products with longer lifespans than our competitors. We wanted to create a piece that was visually appealing, clean and simple to use. We refined the charts to simplify the information and ordering process. Since this is a printed piece, we wanted it to have a nice, tactile feel. That’s why we used perfect binding with a soft-touch coating on the cover.

What influenced your approach?

The factor that most influenced our approach was our objective to reinforce FX Luminaire as a high-end brand. We included large beauty shots, lots of white space and minimal, clean chart graphics. Since we are also starting to offer our products globally, we looked critically at catalogs from European companies that might be potential competitors so that we could create literature that is competitive with global brands and styles.

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

The FX Luminaire product catalog stands out because of its large, dramatic photographs, which span across the spreads that divide each product category, combined with the soft-touch coating on the cover and perfect binding.

A Star in Any Language

Gardner Award Winner for International: Best Writing Publication (article or editorial)
By Britney Riggs, Digital Marketing Specialist at Xylem Marketing

We asked Scott MacCallum, editor/publisher of Turf Matters, the following questions about his winning project “A Star in Any Language.”

Scott MacCallum

Please briefly describe your winning project.

A Star in Any Language was Turf Matters’ Ryder Cup preview. The Golf National, Paris Course Superintendent Alejandro Reyes, was a young Spaniard and an extremely impressive individual. He gave us more time than we expected to produce a half-hour videoed interview with him and free rein to photograph and drone film the course. The article was based on the incredible lengths he took to secure his job and high level of professionalism that went into preparing the course for what was the highest profile sporting event of 2018.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

We worked closely with Ransomes Jacobsen staff on the project as they wanted to maximize the benefit from the investment they made as a key sponsor of the Ryder Cup maintenance program. Ransomes Jacobsen saw Turf Matters as an ideal vehicle to showcase the commitment they had made to the success of Alejandro’s course preparation work. The result was a video that displayed Alejandro’s passion and no-compromise dedication. It was also Turf Matters’ first overseas assignment since it was launched in 2014.

What influenced your approach?

My aim always is to gain the trust and respect of my interview subject. Once that has been achieved, I make sure that an interview is more of a chat between friends, which will elicit better answers than a more structured, set-in-stone set of questions approach. Going in with an open mind, rather than having a fixed expectation of how the interview will go, is, I believe, the best approach. Sharing stories with an interview subject, also, makes the subject feel they are gaining something from the process, too.

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

With 35 years experience as a golf writer, I know the game inside and out. And with nearly 25 of those years in the turf maintenance sector, I know enough to draw out the interesting aspects of a story from a superintendent. In this case, I saw Alejandro’s task of learning French for his vital second interview, while not relevant to the article’s main Ryder Cup preview goal, as a superb “hook” to gain the reader’s interest. I think the article captured the essence of Alejandro and showed what is required to produce a perfect Ryder Cup course.

Welcome to Business, Brands and Beasts: A Breakfast Seminar Presented By: G&S Business Communications

By JoDee Sattler

Some things never change… like the GIE+EXPO location and the great people who attend the Green Industry and Equipment Expo. But, some things change, like the day of the TOCA breakfast and its new sponsor. And change is good!

This year’s TOCA breakfast, held in conjunction with GIE+EXPO, scheduled for Oct. 16-18, at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, begins at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17 (not Friday, as in the past), in the Press Center, which is in room C-112.

G&S Business Communications is the new TOCA breakfast sponsor and will offer a snapshot of the education our members and others receive at the TOCA Annual Meeting, April 28-30, Denver. Read on to learn what this new sponsor – with new content – has on tap for the GIE+EXPO TOCA breakfast.

In a disruption-filled marketplace, your business and brands can unexpectedly become adversaries when vying for customers. While the business is focused on immediate, short-term results, brands are focused on longevity. And, yes, aligning the two can be a beast. 


To help tame the beast, G&S will share a proven framework for aligning your business strategy with brand storytelling and provide tips and tricks for telling stories with emotion and power across traditional, digital and social media.

Join the G&S team of Steve Halsey, agency principal and managing director, and Lyndsey Newnam, vice president (and long-time active TOCA member), for a power breakfast that blends presentation, practical exercises and takeaways for green industry communicators.

Event schedule:

7:15-7:30 a.m.             Open for breakfast

7:30-7:40 a.m.             TOCA welcome and update

7:40-8:30 a.m.             G&S Business Communications presentation

8:30 a.m.                     Program complete

To attend the TOCA-G&S Business Communications breakfast and seminar, attendees must be registered for the 2019 GIE+EXPO.

We look forward to seeing you in the Derby City. Remember to invite all your colleagues, clients and friends, because this is going to be a fantastic seminar. And did we mention bacon?

Click here to register.

TOCA Strategic Plan Continues Implementation

By Kristy Mach

Last February, the TOCA board of directors met in Fort Myers, Fla., to develop a strategic plan for the organization. Click here to read up on the full action of the strategic plan.

At the annual meeting in Charlotte, members volunteered to serve on the various committees established at the initial strategic planning session. Those committees are:

  • Membership – Bill Roddy, chair
  • International – Scott Hollister/Den Gardner, co-chairs
  • Professional Development – Debbie Clayton, chair
  • Communications – Scott Covelli, chair
  • Program – Russ Warner, chair
  • Recognition – Den Gardner, chair
  • Futures – Cindy Code, chair
  • Nominating – Russ Warner, chair

Many of the committees have held conference calls and are creating action plans in their assigned areas.

International

The International Committee is making plans to reach potential UK members at the Saltex show in November in Birmingham, England. Additionally, outreach will be made at the British Turf Management (BTME) Exhibition in January in Harrogate, England, and the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Orlando in January. As momentum builds, the goal is to have a one-day educational TOCA meeting in the UK near June 2020. This will be attended by Den Gardner.

Communications

The Communications Committee has been busy leading up to the annual meeting and afterward. A members-only Facebook page was created and content continues to be shared there and via TOCA’s other social channels regularly. Kellie Lasack joined the G&G staff back in March and has been working with the communications committee members and professional development committee members on a more robust social media plan. Additionally, plans are underway to launch a new website in time for membership renewal.

Membership

The Membership Committee will meet again to discuss how to promote TOCA in the United States. At the Cultivate show in July, members gathered with prospective communicators in the ornamental market to help put the “O” back into TOCA. Attendees of the meet-up received a TOCA coffee mug as an incentive to “fuel professional growth” through TOCA. Nothing beats word-of-mouth encouragement to join this great organization, so please keep spreading the word about the benefit of TOCA membership. If you have any questions or need support materials, please contact Membership Director Kyle Wieskus at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com.

If you’re interested in serving on one of these committees, please contact TOCA staff and we’ll get you involved!

Fall Running: It’s More than Exercise

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

It’s time to enjoy beautiful fall days. How about a jog/run or walk? Early morning fall running can be a wonderful experience. Check out the colors and stay in shape. Running in cool weather is so exhilarating.

Here are some fall running tips I’ve gathered over the years and also gleaned information from Minnesota’s Hall of Fame Cross Country Coach Gerry Smith:

  • It’s probably time to check your shoes if you are still using your summer shoes. The tread may be worn or you might just want to “do it” with a new pair of shoes. Shopping for new shoes is always fun.
  • Because you no longer need to avoid the heat of the day by running early in the morning – unless that is something you like to do – get some extra sleep in the morning and do your run in the late afternoon. If you are semi-retired like me, run during the middle of the day.
  • A light, long-sleeve top is always a nice touch for fall. And how about a bright green set of shorts?
  • Even though you are not sweating as much, you still need to hydrate. A famous cross country coach once said, “Your sweat is your fat crying. Keep it up.”
  • Dress in reflective gear and possibly use a flashlight. And because the weather is so unpredictable for most parts of the United States, as fall wears on keep an eye on the weather. Rain and/or strong winds can make for a tough run. Watch for puddles and slippery conditions.
  • Enjoy nature. Sometimes get off the roads and head into the forest or truly cross country.

Feel free to contact me – Dan Gardner at twin1gard@aol.com – your TOCA running editor. I have a multitude of ideas (some effective) and my advice is free. Because I am semi-retired, I have plenty of time to help you with your physical fitness. 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!

Putting the ‘O’ back into TOCA

By Russell Warner, TOCA Board President

Anyone who has been in TOCA board meetings or attended the annual meeting the last couple years has heard the phrase, “putting the ‘O’ back into TOCA.” As we all know, TOCA stands for “Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association.” Let’s be honest… we have excelled at the “T,” but the “O” has been lacking.

In the past, we’ve attempted to remedy the lack of “O” in several different ways. We have attended Cultivate and handed out TOCA flyers. We have offered discounted memberships to ornamental companies and we have sent e-blasts to marketing contacts, all with little success.

Then Cultivate 2019 rolled around where we decided to make another push. With the help of Bayer and Gardner & Gardner Communications, we put together swag bags with TOCA mugs and Starbucks gift cards, and held a meet and greet in Syngenta Flowers’ beautiful booth. We received support from some old friends from Bayer and Nufarm, formed new relationships with the folks at Syngenta Flowers and had participation from GIE Media’s Horticulture Group. Even so, the turnout could have used some improvement.

So, why do we bother? Because we need the voice of the entire industry. As green industry communicators, it’s our responsibility to be highly knowledgeable in all aspects of the market so we can continue to educate our audience with well-rounded perspective. And at the very least, I’ll remind you that the TOCA name includes turf AND ornamental. What if Steak ‘n Shake didn’t serve burgers? What if Hall never met Oates? What if you were hiding and nobody was seeking? All those things would only be half as good!

We will continue to push forward in our efforts to put the “O” back into TOCA. However, the board can’t do it alone. We need help from each of our members to continue to grow this crazy little group of ours. So, if you know anyone on the “O” side of the business, make sure you talk to them about the benefits of TOCA. Help them understand why it is such an important part of your career. Forward this TOCA Talk newsletter and invite them to our next annual meeting in Denver. We know we’re doing great things for the industry. Let’s be our own advocates and make sure the rest of the industry knows.

Bill Klutho’s Complete Remarks when Accepting the 2019 TOCA Hall of Fame Honor

I remember when I first arrived in Raleigh in June of 2000, I was starting as a novice…not only in the industry but as a public relations person. During my working life, I had been a radio announcer, a job developer for people that had been in trouble with the law, a play-by-play sports announcer for everything from basketball, football, professional boxing, rugby and pro rasslin’. And when I started working for John Deere, actually the HMO the company owned at one time, I became a communications generalist. Graphic designer, media buyer, brochure writer and singer. Singer? Well, without singing, I wouldn’t be here today.

The new president of John Deere Health Care (JDHC) John Jenkins had started when the company was on the ropes. His goal his first year was to make a one-dollar profit. But John knew it was important to invest in people…and people having fun. So, when the holidays came up that year, he wanted to host a party but knew he wouldn’t have a big budget to work with. He knew I knew local musicians and asked if I could find people to play live music. So, I enlisted the help of bassist Charlie Abplanalp and keyboardist Anthony Watkins. But about two hours in, Charlie called me up to ask to sing a song because they had run out of seasonal music. Charlie had been to a number of our annual tree-trimming parties so he knew we could pull something out. And out came a scene from ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway.’ We took the tune Come Together by the Beatles and rewrote the lyrics on the fly – ending with Come Together right now…JDHC.

The song became a staple for each meeting we had for as long as John was our president. Tweaking the words for each ‘rendition,’ which is what John called these tunes.

The coup de gras came with a complete rewrite of American Pie for a rollout of a major initiative.

The day John took the job as head of the turf unit I wrote a press release announcing his replacement and John approved the release. That was late February 2000. As I was leaving his office, he thanked me for my help during his tenure as president and said that if he had a chance to get me on his new team, he would. Now, I’m thinking that was nice of him to say but the chances I’d be moving with him were small. That was the time I realized I should never doubt John. Three months later, I was sitting in an office in North Carolina.

John created two jobs…one for internal communication and one for external. With the work I had done at John Deere Health, I was thinking I would be in line for the internal job, but John thought I might be better suited for the external role.

I was so lucky to have people in Raleigh ready to help this novice in public relations. My boss at Deere, Bob Tracinski, was a master gardener and communicator, and also is a member of the TOCA Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in getting John Deere involved with TOCA and the Evergreen Foundation, now known as Project Evergreen. Bob took me to my first GIE Expo in Indianapolis in November of 2000. It was my first in-person exposure to the green industry and the first time I met some of you. The following Monday, Bob called me into his office. I was wondering if I had done something wrong. If people had talked to Bob at the meeting and said, ‘who in the world is THAT guy.’ Instead, Bob told me he was really impressed with how I had handled the weekend and because of that…he decided to retire. In three months…

That’s when I started my punctuation jobs. My first job in the Commercial and Consumer Equipment division (now thankfully know as Turf) was manager public relations. But after Bob retired, I became manager comma public relations. Small difference but much bigger payday.

Being thrown into the fire like that, I was so fortunate to have PR professionals like Catherine McCrary, McGavock Edwards, Kris Welsh and Ray Hornak at Epley & Associates showing me the ropes. Without them, I wouldn’t be standing here tonight. And it’s so special to have Catherine and McGavock here tonight. All were big proponents of TOCA. We made a great team. And teamwork is the key toward what we all do. And it is what TOCA is all about. None of us can do our jobs without the assistance of others.

In my job as a PR guy, I tried my best to make sure the information you received from us at John Deere was as unfiltered and informative as possible, because that’s what you wanted from us. That meant working with top-notch subject matter experts that knew their industries and were able to communicate their knowledge to people in simple terms. Greg Weekes, Gregg Breningmeyer and Gilbert Pena all got it. The two Greggs, unfortunately, are not with us anymore. Both were vibrant people who were passionate about their work and their lives. I remember being in Louisville with Gregg Brenningmeyer at OPEI. Catherine McCrary and I were ready to take him to the airport to catch his noon flight. Gregg had been raving about Steak ‘n Shake and Catherine said she had never been to a Steak ‘n Shake. Greg had us turn away from the airport and go to the nearest Steak ‘n Shake. It meant missing his flight but when I spoke to him Monday morning back at work, he said it was the best $75 change fee he ever spent just being able to see Catherine’s face light up with a great new experience.

And face it…we are all up for new experiences. I can’t believe any of us dreamt about becoming communications professionals in the green industry when we were growing up. But now that you’re here…aren’t you happy? And TOCA is a big part of that experience because of the chance to interact with like-minded people. The last couple of days have given me a chance to get reacquainted with old friends and have a chance to start new relationships. It has made me realize how much I loved ‘working green.’

One of my favorite songs is by the group Poco. It’s called Follow Your Dreams. The chorus says…

Give It Your best
Don’t worry about what some may say\
Follow Your Dreams
It’s really all that you can do
Give It your Best and remember that life is what you choose 
Follow Your Dreams 
And do what you love to do

I’m a fortunate guy. I’ve gotten to live several lives and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d like to give a big shout out to Charlie and Donavan…my two boys who let me see life through newer eyes than my age would have normally allowed. And most of all, I’d like to thank my wife Amy who has tried her best to make me a better person. And sometimes she has succeeded, but I’ve probably frustrated her far too frequently. We are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary next weekend, May 11h…the same day as our oldest son Charles/Charlie/Chuck graduates from Iowa State University.

So…as I say thanks to Den Gardner, Cindy Code, Pat Jones, Larry Aylward, current members of the Hall and the board of TOCA for the honor of being added to the illustrious list of honorees in the Hall of Fame, I want you to remember to always give it your best, follow your dreams and do what you love to do.

Norman Goldenberg Named the 2019 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year

Project EverGreen Sponsors Environmental Communicator Award
with Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association 

Cleveland, Ohio (May 2, 2019) — The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) and Project EverGreen announce long-time green industry champion Norman Goldenberg as the recipient of the 2019 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award.

The award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding communications efforts regarding green space and environmental issues, was presented during TOCA’s 30th Annual Conference in Charlotte on May 1. He is the 21st recipient of this award.

 For nearly 60 years, Goldenberg has been a mainstay in the professional lawn, landscape and professional pest management industries. His extensive government affairs expertise and acumen for working with regulators has helped businesses – big and small – successfully navigate the inherent challenges of working with pesticides both residentially and commercially. 

Goldenberg is widely known for his daily e-mails detailing local, state and national news surrounding the use of pesticides and fertilizers. His extensive knowledge of regulatory affairs surrounding these industries has made him a sought after speaker, advisor and committee and task force participant in state houses and hearing rooms across the country.

“This award caps off a long 57-year career. I respect and appreciate this award,” said Goldenberg during his acceptance. “Communications have and always will be vital to factually sharing the messages that represent our business. But don’t make the mistake of assuming your story has been heard; it’s an on-going process.”

Goldenberg has a Bachelor of Science in Entomology from the University of Florida. He owned his own pest control company – Alert Lear Pest Control in Miami – before selling his business and starting an illustrious 28 year career at Terminix and TruGreen. 

He formed Namron Business Associates in January 2014 with the goal of bringing his decades of experience in the lawn care and pest management industries to other companies and associates. 

Clients, among others, have included Terminix, TruGreen and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), where he imparted dynamic knowledge and guidance in areas such as regulatory compliance, public affairs and legislative consulting.

“Norman is a true gem. His knowledge, energy and compassion make him a true industry champion,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “His tireless efforts to communicate factual and up-to-date information on vital issues impacting business owners and consumers are admired and appreciated by thousands nationwide. Norman is a natural environmental communicator and deserving of this prestigious award.

Previous Environmental Communicator Award recipients include:

1999 – Mark Welterlen, former publisher Grounds Maintenance magazine
2000 – Bill Love, W.R. Love Golf Architecture
2001 – Tim Doppel, Atwood Lawn Care
2002 – Doug Fender, former executive director, Turfgrass Producers International
2003 – Allen James, former CEO, RISE
2004 – Rod Dodson, Audubon International
2005 – Jeff Gullickson, Spokane Country Club
2006 – Kevin Trotta, grounds manager/IPM specialist, Cornwall, NY
2007 – Helen Stone, Southwest Trees & Turf magazine
2008 – Allied Golf Associations of Colorado
2009 – Drs. Larry Stowell/Wendy Gelernter, PACE Turf
2010 – Christopher Gray, formerly Marvel Golf Club
2011 – Anthony Williams, formerly Marriott Golf and golf course consultant
2012 – Dr. Frank Rossi, Cornell University
2013 – Phil Fogarty, Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management
2014 – Brandon Horvath, University of Tennessee
2015 – Dr. Brian Horgan, University of Minnesota
2016 – Dr. Dave Shetlar, The Ohio State University 
2017 – Dr. Frank Wong, Bayer Environmental Science
2018 – Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit, Michigan
2019 – Norman Goldenberg

About TOCA

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is composed of editors, writers, publishers, photographers, public relations/advertising practitioners, industry association leaders, manufacturers and others involved in green industry communications. From its beginnings in 1990, it has served members of the green industry by fostering an open exchange of information regarding issues that affect how members communicate to various audiences.

About Project EverGreen

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Project EverGreen is a national non-profit committed to bringing people together to make a difference in how yards, parks and communities creating a greener, healthier, cooler Earth. Project EverGreen also supports military families through the GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops™ initiatives and communities and children with the Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.™ program.

TOCA Strategic Plan Committee Provides Update

By JoDee Sattler

What are the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association’s (TOCA) overall goals? What direction should TOCA head? What are TOCA’s priorities? The TOCA Strategic Planning Committee addressed these questions at its strategic planning session held in February and rolled out to members at the 30th annual meeting in Charlotte in May. Here are highlights from the TOCA strategic plan.

Through this process, the group made four key changes from the previous committee structure:
• The Communications Committee is a stand-alone committee and it will take over several responsibilities from the Professional Development Committee.
• The International Committee is a subcommittee of the Membership Committee.
• The Recognition Committee is a subcommittee of the Program Committee.
• Board members must belong to at least one committee and serve as the board liaison for that committee. If multiple board members are on the same committee, designate one as the liaison.

Subcommittees play a vital role in developing and implementing strategic plans. Here’s a synopsis of TOCA’s strategic plan subcommittees and their chairs, exploration topics and expectations. More than a dozen attendees at the annual meeting agreed to join various committees of TOCA. Please let Kristy Mach (kristymach@gandgcomm.com) know if you’re interested in being on a committee and weren’t able to join the meeting in Charlotte.

Membership
Chair: Bill Roddy
Members: Andrew Gillman, Cindy Code, Pat Morrow
Topics/expectations:
• Develop plans and promotions to grow membership.
• Evaluate membership categories.
• Formally adopt “creep dues” strategy.

International
Chair: Scott Hollister
Members: Jon Kiger, Den Gardner
Topics/expectations:
• Review international attendees’ stipends to attend annual meeting.
• Evaluate live-streaming annual meeting.
• Contact International Federation of Agricultural Journalists regarding potential green industry chapter.
• Spend next 18 months evaluating international chapter in English-speaking areas of Europe and Australia/New Zealand.

Professional Development
Chair: Debbie Clayton
Members: Dawn Rigby, Courtney Mullen, Britney Riggs, Amy Jones
Topics/expectations:
• Select editorial content for TOCA Talk.
• Advise Program Committee regarding TOCA Annual Meeting topics.
• Develop added-value opportunities for members through professional development.

Communications
Chair: Scott Covelli
Members: Jill Odom, Mark LaFleur, Lyndsey Newnam
Topics/expectations:
• Promote professional development opportunities.
• Build “membership community” through online tools.
• Enhance TOCA website.

Program
Chair: Current TOCA president
Members: Current TOCA vice president, past president and board of directors, and other TOCA members in the region hosting the annual meeting
Topics/expectations:
• Consider new learning methods, such as lightning rounds and great debates.
• Develop annual meeting topics and tours.
• Gain social content to boost meeting attendance.

Recognition
Chairs: Den Gardner
Members: Cindy Code (ECY), TOCA staff (HOF, Volunteer of the Year)
Topics/expectations:
• Coordinate Environmental Communicator of the Year (ECY) with award sponsor.
• Coordinate Hall of Fame (HOF) program with TOCA staff and longtime members.
• Consider other recognition programs.

Futures
Chairs: Cindy Code and TOCA staff
Members: Felicia Gillam, Steve Trusty
Topics/expectations:
• Organize scholarship and two internship programs.
• Consider a mentor program.

Nominating
Chair: TOCA president
Members: TOCA vice president, past president
Topics/expectations:
• Develop candidates to assume leadership positions.
• Following board approval, members approve candidates at annual meeting.

In addition, the Committee on Committees, an ad hoc committee, will determine what committees are relevant to TOCA and how they should be assembled, managed and made a long-term fabric of TOCA. This committee of Kristine White, Debbie Clayton, Katie Beth Groover and Amy Jones will develop committee recommendations for next February’s Strategic Planning Committee meeting. This committee will dissolve once the TOCA board of directors approves their recommendations at the 2020 TOCA Annual Meeting.

TOCA staff will continue to manage the TOCA Communications Content, with Lynette Von Minden serving as chair and Jill Odom reviewing contest categories. In addition. TOCA staff, with input and assistance from the board of directors, will carry out Sponsorship Committee duties.

President’s Column

Writing My First Column and What TOCA Means to Me

By Russell Warner, TOCA Board President

I am not a writer. I have never produced a press release, a marketing piece, an article or a column. I realize that these skills come easily to a majority of the TOCA membership, but my background is in sales. I graduated with a Business Management degree from Kent State University and the extent of my writing experience consists of e-mails – sent to many of you – trying to sell something.

I have worked for GIE Media, Inc. as an account manager since July 2006 and have been a TOCA member a majority of that time. In my earlier membership years, the extent of my participation was waking up at the crack of dawn to attend the yearly TOCA breakfast during the Golf Industry Show. Then, in 2015, my buddy and co-worker, Chuck Bowen, was unable to continue his tenure as a board member. He suggested to the board that I would be a good replacement and… BOOM! I became a TOCA board member. (Not to worry, we have a much better vetting process for board members nowadays.)

I had never attended the TOCA Annual Meeting as a member, so my first experience at this event in 2016 was as a board member. Initially, I worried how I’d be able to contribute in my new role, but I was quickly welcomed and brought up to speed by the rest of the board. I volunteered to be part of the Membership Committee and became the chairman of that group in 2017. I helped in any way I could and quickly fell in love with the organization and the people involved.

Last year, I accepted the position of secretary-treasurer, knowing I would be third in line for the president’s seat. Once I heard the news that TOCA President Lacy Ravencraft and Vice President Marissa Palmieri left the industry. I thought to myself, “Does this make me the president of TOCA?” followed by, “Nah, someone would have called me.” Days later I received that call from Scott Hollister (who stepped back into the presidency until a replacement could be voted in) and he asked if I’d be interested in the new role. I told him it would be my honor to be nominated and I knew he would be a great resource for me if I needed guidance.

So, here I am, the new TOCA president. I have received more out of TOCA than I could have imagined at the time Chuck asked me to take his place on the board. I love the camaraderie… the ability to associate with those who share the same goals in making the green industry a well-educated one. I am honored to be the president and I will do everything I can to pick up where Scott left off and help lead the organization moving forward.

As many of you know, an important member of the TOCA family, Den Gardner, has retired from his role as executive director. Den’s commitment to TOCA is a big reason the organization has thrived over the years. I’m thrilled he’ll continue to contribute in a different capacity, with Kristy Mach taking over the executive director role.

Well, there it is; my first column in the books. How did I do?

Russ Warner

rwarner@gie.net

Only the Beginning…

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

For those who attended the Charlotte annual meeting and watched the “tribute” Kristy Mach prepared for the first 30 years of TOCA, themed to the music “Beginnings” by the pop/rock group Chicago, it might seem a dichotomy. (As many of you know, I manage and play in a cover band that plays a lot of Chicago tunes, so the connection was certainly obvious, and I loved it!)

So, is looking back 30 years the “beginning”? It really is. This is a new beginning for TOCA. As I move to a more consulting role in the organization and Kristy takes over in the executive director role, let’s celebrate TOCA by starting a new chapter. (BTW, Kristy is 45 years old as she takes over the day-to-day reins of TOCA. I was 38 when TOCA was conceived in 1989. So, she’s got many years of additional experience under her belt than I did as a novice association management person back then. You are all the better for that!) Kristy and I have thoroughly enjoyed the past five and one-half years we’ve worked together as partners. She is smart enough to have hopefully picked up on the one or two good qualities I profess to have – the most important being able to attract and work with people smarter than me.

As I looked out at the crowd in Charlotte, I saw energy. I saw young professionals (YP) that seemed to make up at least half of the attendees. When I noted that these YPs were the future of TOCA, applause broke out. That’s what gets me excited.

I also saw veteran TOCA members in the audience who were there in the beginning years of TOCA; people like Steve and Suz Trusty, Cindy Code, Owen Towne and Debbie Clayton. These folks have stuck with TOCA from its beginnings and are still key players in its future. I will always value their friendships.

When I think back to those early days (and I was reminded about this many times over the years), I can’t help but tell one of my favorite anecdotes. It was year two in St. Louis in 1991. About 20 of us were there and the breakfast the last morning was being sponsored by John Deere, one of our founding sponsors. As breakfast neared around 7:30 a.m., the room was basically empty, except for a great buffet, me and my cohort Lois Kocon. There were no smart phones, no way to text attendees. But there was a hotel phone, to which I got on the phone and called every member. I “politely” asked them if they wanted a future for TOCA and were hungry. If so, sponsors like John Deere and other founders like Ciba-Geigy (now Syngenta) wouldn’t likely be around when no one showed up at their sponsored events. Some of you will remember that call. Right, Cindy Code? Right, Owen Towne?

What happened? The people showed up and they have continued to show up since then – at annual meetings, events at trade shows for our various audiences, by participating in our awards contest and so much more.

So, to all of you who already play a major role in TOCA or are going to jump in with both feet today, I say:

Only the beginning
Of what I
(you) want to feel forever
Yes, only the beginning
Only just the start

Thank you to every member the past 30 years for the honor of serving you as executive director. Thanks to all the staff people at G&G then and now who keep the wheels of the bus turning each day in the right direction to make TOCA the kind of organization we all want it to be. I know we’re facing the right way. Finally, thanks to my spouse Sandy, who supported me through three decades and kept me pumped to keep moving TOCA forward to meet its members’ needs.

I was struck by one of the comments made by the attendees this year when we surveyed them after the meeting. “The tight-knit community that TOCA has created is very warm and welcoming, and it was great to connect with people who understand our industry and marketing.” That says it all in my book.

What a testament that comment is about TOCA members. After all, when all the professional development is finished, the networking has concluded and the last swallow of a Smith & Kearns slides down my throat (a great late-night drink – look it up), it’s the friendships, the warmth and the memories that will sustain me. I hope when I’m 97 I’ll be able to attend TOCA’s 60th anniversary meeting.

I used the following line from Confucius five years ago in the introduction to the 25th anniversary book about TOCA. It’s fitting yet today. “Choose a job that you like and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That describes TOCA and my 30-year adventure to a tee!

From that organizational meeting in Minneapolis in 1989, to the excitement ahead as we implement the new strategic plan, it’s time for you guys to make TOCA better. A mentor of mine once told me: “If you’re gonna dream, you might as well dream big.” That’s my dream for you as you take TOCA to the next level. I know I won’t be disappointed. For it truly is “Only the beginning.”

TOCA Announces Communications Award Winners

By Kristy Mach

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) honored members from around the world for their outstanding communications entries at the association’s 30th annual meeting, held April 30-May 2, in Charlotte, N.C. This year’s contest drew 362 entries.

TOCA 2019 Winners

TOCA’s communications contest recognizes individuals for excellence in writing, design, photography/audio visual, new media and special projects. The top winners from the marketing and publishing categories received Gardner Awards. This year’s first place, merit and Gardner Award winners are listed below:

International – Merit
Best Design, Single Page (advertising page)
“Lawn Master franchise recruitment campaign 2018”
Ellie Parry

International – First
Best Design, Single Page (advertising page)
“I-80 Rotor: Full Service Without Breaking Ground”
Jennifer Madrigal, Rich Dunn

International – Merit
Best Design Publication (full magazine article layout)
“Improving on a masterpiece”
Tim Moat

International – First
Best Design Publication – one-page design article
“The beast on the east”
Tim Moat

International – Merit
Best Design Publication – one-page design article
“All eyes on Paris”
Tim Moat

International – First
Best Photo Brochure (or similar marketing/sales literature)
“The Fields Park, Portland, Oregon”
Hunter Industries

International – Merit
Best Writing Publication (article or editorial)
“Design for drought defence”
Helen Willson

International – Merit
Best Writing Publication (article or editorial)
“Demain’s the name”
Scott MacCallum

International – First and Gardner Award
Best Writing Publication (article or editorial)
“A Star in any language”
Scott MacCallum

International – First
Best Copywriting Publication (display advertisement)
“Calliope Geraniums Consumer Advertorials”
Syngenta, G&S Business Communications

International – First
Best Copywriting Brochure (or similar marketing/sales literature)
“Calliope Geraniums Consumer Planting Guide”
Syngenta, G&S Business Communications

Design – Merit
Website design – digital design
“LebanonTurf New Website”
Jeremy Bigler

Design – First
Website design – digital design
“LESCO – Website”
Swanson Russell

Design – Merit
Digital media (non website) – digital design
“Nufarm Sure Power Interactive Infographic”
Katie Beth Groover, Lori Blennert

Design – Merit
Digital media (non website) – digital design
“FISHER Digital Ads – Plowsite Takeover”
EPIC Creative

Design – First
Digital media (non website) – digital design
“Secure Action Fungicide Digital Advertising”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Design – First
Electronic publishing – overall newsletter/magazine design
“For the Health of It – Golf E-newsletter”
Theresa Ford

Design – First
Electronic publishing – overall company web design
“Bayer Website”
Bayer

Design – First and Gardner Award
Printed collateral – overall collateral design
“FX Luminaire Product Catalog, Landscape Lighting”
Steve Sharp, Ryan Williams

Design – Merit
Printed collateral – overall collateral design
“WESTERN 2018 Catalog”
EPIC Creative

Design – First
Printed collateral – overall collateral design
“FISHER Brand Book”
EPIC Creative

Design – First
Printed direct response – overall direct response design
“Dura Products EOP Self Mailer”
Victoria Carter

Design – Merit
Printed special projects
“Nufarm Braves Event”
Katie Beth Groover, Lori Blennert

Design – First
Printed special projects
“GIS 2018 – Condition. Perform. Recover.”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Design – Merit
Point of purchase materials
“Dollar for Dollar, Pound for Pound”
Sophia van Oss

Design – First
Point of purchase materials
“Empro Fertilizer Bag”
Sophia van Oss

Design – Merit
Printed magazine/single page design, advertising
“BOB-CAT Product Catalog”
EPIC Creative

Design – First
Printed magazine/single page design, advertising
“GreenTrust 365 Print Ads”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Design – Merit
Printed magazine/single page design, advertising
“Manuscript Herbicide Print Ad”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Design – Merit
Printed magazine/single page design, advertising
“AEP – SUREPYC Print Ad”
Swanson Russell

Design – First
Printed magazine/two-plus page design, advertising
“Posterity Fungicide Cover Tip Print Ad”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Design – Merit
Printed magazine/two-plus page design, advertising
“Broadform: The Solution Is Clear”
Bayer, Global Prairie

Design – Merit
Printed magazine/two-plus page design, advertising
“WESTERN WIDE-OUT XL & Pro Plus HD Print Ads”
EPIC Creative

Design – First
Printed magazine/less than one page design, advertising
“Foliar-Pak XCD Ad”
Justin Thiry

New Media – First
Blogs
“Talking Turf”
Bayer

New Media – First and Gardner Award
Websites
“Syngenta Dollar Spot Solutions Website”
Syngenta, G&S Business Communications

New Media – Merit
Websites
“Syngenta Fairy Ring Solutions Website”
Syngenta, G&S Business Communications

New Media – Merit
Most engaging social media campaign
“Steel Green Manufacturing Facebook Campaign”
Dawn Rigby, Britney Riggs

New Media – First
Most engaging social media campaign
“Posterity Fungicide Social Media Campaign”
G&S Business Communications, Syngenta

New Media – First
Best mobile application
“Hunter Presenter App”
Hunter Industries

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best photograph – marketing purposes – printed collateral (one or more photos in a collateral piece)
“GIS 2018 – Condition. Perform. Recover.”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best photograph – marketing purposes – printed custom publication
“FX Luminaire, Napa Valley, California”
Jason Ward

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best short video/DVD (2 minutes or less)
“FISHER – Brand Anthem Video”
EPIC Creative

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best short video/DVD (2 minutes or less)
“Hydrawise Wi-Fi Irrigation Controllers”
Sean Bell, Phil Robisch, Jeff Falk, Anthony Long

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best long video/DVD (more than 2 minutes)
“ECHO – Red Armor Fuel Treatment”
EPIC Creative

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First and Gardner Award
Best long video/DVD (more than 2 minutes)
“Rain Bird – ‘Defend Your Turf’ Winged Foot Golf Club Video”
Swanson Russell

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best long video/DVD (more than 2 minutes)
“Koch Turf & Ornamental – Ewing Video Series”
Swanson Russell

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best instructional video/DVD
“Carrier Systems Installation Video”
Justin Thiry

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best instructional video/DVD
“Nufarm Sure Power Training Module”
Lori Blennert, Katie Beth Groover

Special Projects – First
Special Event
“Posterity Fungicide Food Truck & Twitter Campaign”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Special Projects – Merit
Special Event
“Green Start Academy”
Amy Jones, Tessa Bonnstetter

Special Projects – First
Best integrated marketing campaign
“Hunter and FX Luminaire Rockstar”
Hunter Industries

Special Projects – Merit
Best integrated marketing campaign
“Syngenta Posterity Fungicide Launch”
Syngenta, G&S Business Communications, Martin Williams

Special Projects – First and Gardner Award
Miscellaneous special marketing communications project
“Steel Green Manufacturing Launch Campaign”
Dawn Rigby, Justin Thiry, Victoria Carter, Courtney Mullen, Britney Riggs

Special Projects – Merit
Miscellaneous special marketing communications project
“Soil Solver Application”
Dawn Rigby, George Murray, Justin Thiry

Special Projects – Merit
Miscellaneous special marketing communications project
“Spring Valley Single App Point of Purchase Materials”
EPIC Creative

Writing – Merit
Copywriting for a display ad – commercial publications
“Manuscript Herbicide Print Ad”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Writing – First
Copywriting for a display ad – commercial publications
“Posterity Fungicide Print Ad”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Writing – Merit
Copywriting for a display ad – commercial publications
“Secure Action Fungicide Print Ad”
Mark LaFleur, RaeAnne Gleason

Writing – First
Writing for printed collateral
“FX Luminaire Product Catalog, Landscape Lighting”
Matthew McArdle, Ryan Williams

Writing – First
Writing for printed collateral
“Rain Bird – System Renovation Brochure”
Swanson Russell

Writing – Merit
Writing for printed collateral
“Koch Turf & Ornamental – Peer #2 Case Study”
Swanson Russell

Writing – First
Writing a news release
“Fourth Generation of Family Leadership Joins Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply”
Veronica Biczo

Writing – Merit
Writing a news release
“Ferris – ‘Limited Edition Ferris IS 3200 Midnight Edition Mower Now Available’ News Release”
Swanson Russell

Writing – First
Writing a feature article
“Winterizing Your Irrigation System”
Andrew Gillman

Writing – Merit
Writing a feature article
“PERC – ‘3 Secrets Contractors Using Propane Don’t Want Their Competition to Know’Article”
Swanson Russell

Writing – Merit
Writing for company website – original content
“#FoliarFAQ Blog Post”
Dawn Rigby

Writing – First and Gardner Award
Writing for company website – original content
“The Smart Garden: Plant with Purpose Blog Post”
Kyle Ladenburger

Writing – First
Writing for company website – original content
“How to Grow Vegetables Indoors, Leslie F. Halleck”
Leslie F. Halleck

Writing – First
Writing for electronic newsletter – original content
“Women in Golf Roundtable Article”
Syngenta, G&S Business Communications

Writing – Merit
Writing for electronic newsletter – original content
“Golf and Tiger on the Upswing in 2018!”
Christopher Gray

Writing – First
Writing for electronic newsletter – original content
“Toro Advantage Distributor Content”
Kristine White

Writing – Merit
Special Writing Project
“Hunter 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Report”
Bryce Carnehl, Matthew McArdle, Dina Newcomb

Writing – First
Special Writing Project
“Koch Turf & Ornamental – Specialty Media Placement for TotalLandscapeCare.com”
Swanson Russell

Design – Merit
Cover page design – printed magazines
“Labor Crisis”
Karen Carr

Design – First
Cover page design – printed magazines
“LM March 2018 cover – Is Your Company at Risk?”
Tracie Martinez

Design – Merit
Cover page design – printed magazines
“Golfdom November 2018 cover – Distance Education”
Pete Seltzer, Andrew DeGraff, Seth Jones

Design – First and Gardner Award
Single page design, editorial – printed magazines
“Social Media Notes”
Karen Carr

Design – First
Two-plus page design, editorial – printed magazines
“Vino Venture”
Justin Armburger

Design – Merit
Two-plus page design, editorial – printed magazines
“Bond of Brothers”
Jim Blayney

Design – Merit
Two-plus page design, editorial – printed magazines
“LM June 2018 – LM150 profiles”
Tracie Martinez

Design – First
Overall magazine design – printed magazines
“October 2018”
Justin Armburger

Design – Merit
Overall magazine design – printed magazines
“LM October 2018 – overall magazine design”
Tracie Martinez, LM Staff

Design – First
Overall media kit design
“2018 Horticulture Group Media Kit”
Justin Armburger, Katie Tuttle

Design – First
Overall media kit design
“2019 Media Planner”
Karen Carr

New Media – Merit
Podcasts
“GCSAA Podcast, Episode 2, October”
Scott Hollister

New Media – First
Podcasts
“50 Years of Controversy – An Interview with Dr. Joe Vargus”
Frank Rossi, Ph.D.

New Media – First
Blogs
“LM – Blog”
LM Staff

New Media – First and Gardner Award
Blogs
“Parker Stancil in Denmark”
Parker Stancil

New Media – First
Websites
“GCMOnline.com”
Megan Hirt

New Media – Merit
Websites
“TurfNet.com”
Peter McCormick

New Media – First
Innovative use of social media
“Golfdom – PGA Championship social coverage”
Seth Jones, Kelly Limpert, Abby Hart, Grace Rybak

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First and Gardner Award
Portrait/Personality (photo of individual or group of individuals)
“LM October 2018 cover – Growth Mindset”
Tracie Martinez, Matthew Allen, LM Staff

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Portrait/Personality (photo of individual or group of individuals)
“Golfdom September 2018 cover – T.A. is Taking Care of Business”
Tom Lebsack

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best single photo – Use of stock art (anywhere in the magazine)
“A family affair”
Kelly Neis, Roger Billings

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best single photo – created by a TOCA member or freelancer commissioned by a TOCA member
“Golfdom June 2018 cover photo”
Kevin Dietsch

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best single photo – created by a TOCA member or freelancer commissioned by a TOCA member
“Golfdom May 2018 – U.S. Open preview spread”
Seth Jones

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best use of photography, judging three issues of a magazine
“Golf Course Industry”
Guy Cipriano, Pat Jones, Mike Zawacki, Jim Blayney

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best use of photography, judging three issues of a magazine
“Irrigation & Green Industry magazine”
Karen Carr

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best print magazine cover
“Golfdom November 2018 – Distance Education cover”
Seth Jones, Pete Seltzer, Andrew DeGraff

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best print magazine cover
“LM June 2018 – LM 150 cover”
Neil Stephenson

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best print magazine cover
“Balancing act”
Rick Bern

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best CD/audiovisual presentation
“Mindful Superintendent 2018 Retreat Video”
Paul MacCormack

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best short video/DVD (2 minutes or less)
“GCSAA TV – The Art of Bunker Raking at the 100th PGA Championship”
EPIC Creative

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best short video/DVD (2 minutes or less)
“GCSAA TV – Super Dogs! at Cherry Island Golf Course”
EPIC Creative

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best long video/DVD (more than 2 minutes)
“GCSAA TV – 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club”
EPIC Creative

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best long video/DVD (more than 2 minutes)
“GCSAA TV – An Incredible Bond Between Two Superintendents”
EPIC Creative

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best long video/DVD (more than 2 minutes)
“Top 4 Tips for a Happy Future Golf Career”
Randy Wilson

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best instructional video/DVD
“Document Projects with Before/After Photography”
Kevin Ross

Photography • Video • Multimedia – Merit
Best use of editorial or opinion in video/DVD
“Randy Wilson Forest Therapy”
Randy Wilson

Photography • Video • Multimedia – First
Best use of editorial or opinion in video/DVD
“A Message for Golf from A Last Wave Millennial”
Randy Wilson

Special Projects – First
Best single issue
“October 2018”
Kristin Smith-Ely, Karen Carr, Mary Williams-Villano

Special Projects – Merit
Best single issue
“LM June 2018 – LM 150”
Marisa Palmieri, Abby Hart, Sarah Webb, Tracie Martinez

Special Projects – First
Writing for special projects
“LM December 2018 – Industry Pulse”
Marisa Palmieri, LM Staff

Special Projects – Merit
Writing for special projects
“Golfdom December 2018 – State of the Industry”
Ed Hiscock, Abby Hart, Seth Jones, Sarah Webb, Chris Lewis

Special Projects – Merit
Best coverage in a magazine of an on-site event
“San Antonio state of mind”
GCM Staff

Special Projects – First
Best coverage in a magazine of an on-site event
“TPI 2018 Tucson”
Steve Trusty, Suz Trusty, Jane Tomlinson

Special Projects – First and Gardner Award
Miscellaneous special publishing project
“Gardening Under Lights; The Complete Guide for Indoor Growers, Leslie F. Halleck”
Leslie F. Halleck

Special Projects – Merit
Miscellaneous special publishing project
“2019 Dog Days of Turf Calendar”
Kelly Neis, Roger Billings

Special Projects – First
Special Event – Publishing
“TurfNet Members Trip to Ireland”
Jon Kiger

Writing – First
Editorial/Opinion Piece – commercial publications
“Don’t let time pass you buy”
Jim Nedrow

Writing – Merit
Editorial/Opinion Piece – commercial publications
“That Uncomfortable Conversation”
Brian Horn

Writing – Merit
Editorial/Opinion Piece – commercial publications
“LM November 2018 – Next gen mindset column”
Marisa Palmieri

Writing – First
Column – commercial publications
“The conversation”
Pat Jones

Writing – Merit
Column – commercial publications
“Golfdom April 2018 column – Message in a ceiling”
Seth Jones

Writing – First
Series of columns by regular department columnist – commercial publications
“Golfdom 2018 – Keeping up with the Jones”
Seth Jones

Writing – Merit
Series of columns by regular department columnist – commercial publications
“Up to speed”
Thom Nikolai, Ph.D.

Writing – First
Ornamental feature article – commercial publications
“Golfdom August 2018 – Wildflower meadows for the busy superintendent”
Hannah Schrum

Writing – Merit
Turf feature article – commercial publications
“Golfdom August 2018 – Thin white line”
Paul Koch

Writing – First
Turf feature article – commercial publications
“LM April 2018 cover story – Efficiency Hackers”
Marisa Palmieri, LM Staff

Writing – First
Product information article – commercial publications
“In with the new”
Howard Richman

Writing – Merit
Product information article – commercial publications
“Golfdom February 2018 – He’s got a ticket to drive feature”
Seth Jones

Writing – Merit
Product information article – commercial publications
“Golfdom October 2018 – Fully charged”
Abby Hart

Writing – Merit
Operations profile – commercial publications
“Chuck Hafner’s Consistent Surprises”
Steven Trusty, Suz Trusty, Jill LoCascio

Writing – First
Operations profile – commercial publications
“Golfdom July 2018 PGA Championship preview: A superintendent for the people”
Seth Jones

Writing – Merit
Business management – commercial publications
“Ohio YMCA takes over golf course with a fresh approach”
John Reitman

Writing – First
Business management – commercial publications
“The 10 Commandments of Successful Superintendents”
Dave Waymire, CGCS

Writing – Merit
Business management – commercial publications
“Why Landscape Businesses Fail”
Mary Villano

Writing – Merit
General feature article – commercial publications
“When I’m Gone”
Megan Smalley

Writing – First
General feature article – commercial publications
“Bond of Brothers”
Guy Cipriano

Writing – Merit
Environmental stewardship article – commercial publications
“Ross in Reverse”
Kristen Hampshire

Writing – First and Gardner Award
Environmental stewardship article – commercial publications
“A new sheriff in town”
Hal Phillips

Writing – Merit
Headline writing – commercial publications
“Vino Venture”
Lauren Rathmell

Writing – First
Headline writing – commercial publications
“Golfdom November 2018 – The dollars (and temps) of greens covers”
Seth Jones

Writing – Merit
Writing for website – original content only
“How to: Personal April showers to enjoy more flowers”
Jill Odom

Writing – First
Writing for website – original content only
“Beard brought ‘science’ to turfgrass science”
John Reitman

Writing – First
Writing for enewsletter – original content only
“The wind up and the pitch: Perfecting your design pitch”
Beth Hyatt

Writing – Merit
Series – two or more articles defined as series – commercial publications
“Labor issues affecting the golf industry”
John Reitman

Writing – First
Series – two or more articles defined as series – commercial publications
“Mauka to Makai”
Guy Cipriano

My TOCA Experience, from Across the Pond

By Ellie Parry, Forte Marketing & Public Relations

I was thrilled and excited to be informed that I was the recipient of an international stipend, which enabled me to attend TOCA’s 30th Annual Meeting in Charlotte.

I arrived a day early so I could take advantage of the sunshine and location, and explored the area on foot. I love urban architecture and the diverse neighbourhoods of the Queen’s City provided some wonderful vantage points – from the eclectic arts district of NoDa to the beautifully preserved settlers’ homes in the historic Fourth Quarter. I couldn’t visit the city without seeing the sports fields and I was fortunate to have staff from both the BB&T Ballpark and Bank of America Stadium recognize my English accent and invite their curious visitor in to see the playing surface. The newcomers’ dinner later that evening was my first opportunity to meet everyone. A great evening was spent getting to know more about the other attendees and their roles within the industry.

The event program got underway on Wednesday as we congratulated TOCA’s Environmental Communicator of the Year Norman Goldenberg and Volunteer of the Year Scott Hollister, and heard from media intern Parker Stancil, who was also volunteering at Quail Hollow that week. We were then introduced to Mick Mixon, radio announcer for the Carolina Panthers. His session, “Professional-grade curious,” not only provided fantastic guidance for creative and courageous interviewing, but made us all think about the deeper benefits of human connection.

The behind-the-scenes tour of Well Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow that afternoon was a great privilege and an event highlight for me. Visiting on Pro-am day, the venue was buzzing with energy and it was incredibly generous of Keith Wood, superintendent, and Lee Patterson, tournament communications director, to take time out to welcome us and talk us through the preparations and logistics of hosting an event of that size and profile. The golf course looked incredible in the sunshine as we followed Phil Mickelson’s team’s progress.

After joining Den Gardner’s early morning TOCA 5K Run/Walk Club on Thursday morning, I was energized and ready for a full day of education. Ren LaForme opened the morning session with a great keynote presentation on digital tools, which revealed some great must-try apps for personal organization and image creation. He then delved a little deeper into analytics and how to turn understanding into actions.

The afternoon panel debate on branded content and native advertising was particularly interesting for me. McGavock Edwards, Greg Hillyer and Sheri Seger used their roles as content creator, editor and advertising director, respectively, to give well-rounded insights into the wider considerations of this increasingly popular marketing approach.

Finally, we heard from Kim Meyer and Liz Vickerman from Kynetec about best practices in market research. They opened my eyes to further opportunities to undertake research beyond those I had already considered. They also gave me some ideas to take home for discussion with my clients.

The awards dinner that evening provided an opportunity to acknowledge the great work our peers produced last year. It is really motivating to see co-workers and competitors celebrating each others’ achievements. I congratulate all the winners and nominees.

The TOCA Annual Meeting was a great experience for me in so many ways. Each place I have visited during my 18-year turf industry career, at home and overseas, has been a valuable learning opportunity, but I was particularly excited to meet other communications professionals and take part in an educational program specifically created to develop our skillset.

I appreciate how much hard work goes into organizing events, so I’d like to thank Kristy Mach, Den Gardner and the annual meeting committee for all the work they put into staging a great week. I’d also like to thank all the sponsors whose financial and practical support makes it all possible. Finally, thank you to all the attendees who welcomed me into their groups and onto their tables, shared their backgrounds and experiences with me, and answered my many questions. If you come over to the United Kingdom, please contact me!

These are three of my take-aways from the meeting.

Getting together: Great things happen when people get together! At a time when our globally important industry is tackling major issues, such as climate change, sustainability and use of synthetic turf and chemical withdrawal, we will make greater progress and achieve more by sharing ideas and working collaboratively. I will be reaching out for a different perspective more often.

Contribute: The world needs more people like Den Gardener. His dedication to the green industry and TOCA has been incredible. Not everyone can commit 30 years to a cause, but each of us can get involved to do our bit. I am looking forward to working with the board to develop international membership.

Learn and adapt: The marketing landscape is constantly changing. In the digital world, particularly, things evolve quickly and we need to learn, adapt and keep ourselves informed. I will be seeking more learning opportunities and asking for toolkit recommendations from my peers.

Summer 2019 Running Column

 By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Thanks to everyone who participated in the TOCA Run/Walk at the annual meeting in May in beautiful (except for the 3 a.m. fire alarm at our hotel) Charlotte. The great turnout of walkers and runners was exciting, and we look forward to growing our numbers next year in Denver. It was also great to see so many of you at the TOCA Annual Meeting and especially wonderful to run alongside (or behind) so many of you during the walk/run.

From time to time, readers express an interest in tips for starting a running regimen. Most experts say (for “newbies”) you must learn to walk before you learn to run. That is great advice. Start by walking five days a week – 30-45 minutes, five days a week. Eventually extend that to one hour. How long a process? You may want to do the walking stint for about a month. Then, start running short distances to the point where you feel comfortable. A good warmup is always some walking and running for about 0.5 mile, then get into your routine. Depending on your age and health, a good two- or three-mile workout is a good beginning.

Feel free to contact me – Dan Gardner at twin1gard@aol.com – your TOCA running editor. I’ll be happy to help you with any running questions, general health concerns or simply share my philosophy for living life at its optimal level.

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 an even better association. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA!

Branded Content and Native Advertising

by Jill Odom

Gregg Hiller, editor-in-chief of Progressive Farmer, Sheri Seger, director of national advertising with DTN and Progressive Farmer, and McGavock Edwards, strategic communication director at Eckel & Vaughn, participated on a panel discussing branded content and native advertising during the 2019 TOCA Annual Meeting in Charlotte.

Seger broke down how marketing has its own language. Content marketing is considered the strategy portion, whereas branded content is the message being conveyed. Native advertising is the tactic.

She explained that branded content attempts to make an emotional connection with its audience. Yet, this form of marketing isn’t new.

Seger shared a timeline of branded content, pointing out that the first native ad was created in 1885 and was a promotional poster for a Buffalo Bill show that featured Sitting Bull.

She added that communicators have to figure out how to resonate with the right person at the right time and right place with the right message.

Consumers aren’t fooled by branded content. They know when they’re looking at something sponsored. The key is to tell a story that is created for the audience and is real. Customers want transparency and they want to form a connection with the company.

Yet, this quality, branded content does no good if it isn’t seen. Thus, distribution is just as important. “Consumers need lean, snackable information that breaks through the noise,” Seger said.

Branded content can take on many forms, such as articles, blogs, infographics or white papers. Seger advised using whatever works best for the platform where the content is being shared.

Key performance indicators that help you know if branded content is being effective include: click-through rates, time spent on site, page views, bounce rate and conversions.

Seger said native adverting is more expensive but performs better, yet she warned it can dilute your brand if used too much.

Seger and Hiller shared the success of some of their past projects with brands like BASF and the amount of content it generated. With the BASF “Innovations in the Field” project, there were 90 pages of content, 79 pages of BASF advertising and 130 blog posts created over a five-year span.

During the session’s second half, the moderator asked the panelists questions. Here are some of the questions and responses.

Does native advertising diminish the value of editorial? Hiller responded that if the branded content is done well, it is still valuable. “Good content is good content,” he said.

Is it ethical for editorial to create the branded content? Hiller explained that he hires knowledgeable freelancers to write this sort of content and keeps his staff separate from advertorial discussion. Seger added that it is important to make the client aware of the ethical guidelines they must follow.

Should the amount of native advertising be limited? Seger said she believes there will eventually be some fatigue toward native advertising and she explained how this type of content is more time consuming. Consequently, it should be priced respectively.

Digging Deeper into Digital Tools

By Scott Covelli, EPIC Creative

Ren LaForme

As a follow-up to Ren LaForme’s crowd-pleaser presentation last year at the 2018 TOCA Annual meeting, the Poynter Institute digital specialist returned in 2019 with more tools and updates. The digital tools he highlighted are designed to help us avoid misinformation, tell better stories and make our overall lives easier. There’s even one that helps you drink more water.

The tools are out there; we’ve just got to find them and use them. This is that first step.

Tools that make your work easier
Workdays can quickly become tedious or disorganized if we’re not intentional about how we do things. It’s also hard to change your ways when you’re busy enough trying to get everything done. LaForme shared several tools that make daily tasks easier and life more organized.

  • Otter and Descript can automatically transcribe audio for you from interviews or meeting notes.
  • ContactOut helps you find people and their bios through LinkedIn.
  • Canva and Headliner can aid in your social media efforts, giving you more engaging options to share your content.
  • Sortd and Toby help organize your to-do list and online research.


Tools for telling better stories with data
We’re in a world where data is being collected everywhere. Netflix is using algorithms to determine what kinds of shows to make. Coca-Cola used their freestyle machines to develop their next go-to-market flavor (it was orange vanilla). So, as communicators, how do we take all that raw data and tell meaningful stories with it?

  • Infogr.am and Datawrapper are tools that help you display data visually in your stories through icons, graphs and maps.
  • Google Dataset Search helps find digestible data through Google that you can use.
  • Data.World doesn’t just give you data, but it also gives you tips on how to analyze and display it.
  • Tabula allows you to pull data from PDFs and turn it into spreadsheet files.


Tools to survive the ‘Misinfonet’
Despite all the data out there, there are still just as many “hot takes” and speculation that can spiral out of control. It doesn’t even need to be nefarious to be damaging. If one misinformed influencer shares inaccurate information, it can reach millions of people in an instant. With our communication goal of always being accurate, these tools can help.

  • TwitterAudit analyzes your (or someone else’s) Twitter account to see how many of their followers are bots.
  • Facebook and Snap Live Maps allow you to see geo-tagged videos in real time.
  • RevEye and Google Image Search lets you reverse-search an image to find the source.
  • Who.Is shows you who owns or hosts a website so you can tell if it’s legitimate or fishy.


Tools to help you take care of yourself
Contrary to what some may say, it’s not all about the work. You’ve got to take care of you first and then the good work will come after it. The healthier you are, the better you’ll do at your job. These tools can get you in the right space in many different ways.

  • Nudge keeps you productive by encouraging you to not waste your day on social media.
  • Boomerang and Google’s “Snooze” function allow you to schedule or delay e-mails to more appropriate times.
  • As a part of Boomerang, Inbox Pause can help you focus by pausing all incoming e-mails in your inbox.
  • Just Not Sorry is a fun spin on tools like Grammarly, automatically highlighting or removing self-defeating words from your e-mails.
  • PlantNanny is a gamified reminder to drink water throughout the day.
  • LastPass claims to be the last password you’ll ever need, saving all your passwords in a safe place and suggesting good ones for future logins.


Remember, tools don’t do the work for you, but they help you do your best work. A hammer isn’t going to build a house for you, but it makes it a lot easier. With these tools, LaForme can help all of us be better communicators in the turf industry.

To see all of Ren’s tools and trends, visit http://poy.nu/toca19.

Ten Takeaways on Interviewing Skills

By Debbie Clayton

Mick Mixon

Mick Mixon, the play-by-play announcer for the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers, delivered a rousing session on interviewing techniques at the 2019 TOCA Annual Meeting. Saying he was “cheated” out of the genes needed for playing sports, he decided covering sports was the next-best thing.

Mixon strongly suggests preparing for interviews by thoroughly grounding yourself in the subject matter. In addition, he recommends:

1. Get over yourself.

Don’t hog the spotlight! The interview is not about you; it’s about the interviewee. It doesn’t matter who it is – the pope, the president or a local lawn care professional.

Give the person the opportunity to speak. If necessary, script and rehearse your first question, but use words as a scalpel. Keep it short.

2. Listen intently.

Chances are the next question is embedded in the answer to the first question…and so on.

3. Set your conversation goals high.

Avoid the following:

  • Improper language: Don’t say “ain’t” or “me and him” or “I’m fixin’ to do something” or repeat “like” every other word or misuse the word “literally.”
  • Up talking (do not end each sentence as if it was a question).
  • Answering questions for the interviewee.

4. Be relentlessly curious.

Three things are necessary for a good interview:

  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity

5. Questions are powerful.

Give the interviewee time to think. Try to evoke emotions with your questions. For example, ask:

  • When was the last time you cried?
  • What makes you laugh out loud?

6. Avoid statement questions and either/or questions.

7. Avoid premise questions.

This is where you give a lengthy explanation before asking a question. Just “skin it down” and ask the question.

8. Avoid two-part questions.

Just ask one question at a time and follow up with another question.

9. Be yourself!

10. Have fun!

Turning Analytics into Action

By Dawn Rigby, Xylem Marketing

Ren LaForme

In part two of the keynote Poynter Institute presentation at the 2019 TOCA Annual Meeting, Ren LaForme focused on analytics – which ones are important, what they mean and how to turn analytics into action.

“Analytics provide an overwhelming amount of information,” he said. “You can ignore most of it.”

Analytics are the quantitative and qualitative information that can be used to measure the effectiveness of your work. It can show you what your audience cares about and it can tell you what you are wasting time on. Your overall goal will determine which metrics you should track.

Use analytics to set a bar and try to beat it. The metrics that you choose as important are your KPIs (key performance indicators).

Quantitative Metrics to Watch

Quantitative data tell us how many visitors have viewed our website or article, what types of content are doing well and where visitors are coming from. Here are some examples:

Pageviews – How many times was your page viewed in a specific time period? Pageviews is an industry standard, but this metric provides an imprecise way to judge an article’s performance.

Unique Visitors – How many different people viewed your page in a specific time period? This provides a slightly better but still imprecise way to judge an article’s performance. By comparing pageviews and unique visitors, we can draw some conclusions.

Try this: If pageviews and unique visitors are close in number, you might want to find ways to increase the number of articles a visitor views.

Try this: If pageviews and unique visitors are distant in number, it might be a good time to brainstorm ways to attract new audiences. What else can you offer that you are not currently offering?

Active Visitors – How many different people are on your site and various pages right now? This metric is great for judging “trending” articles and judging day-to-day performance.

Try this: Look for things that are spiking traffic and promote the heck out of them. Look for things that are underperforming and look for ways to boost them.

Referrals – Where did your visitors come from? Referrals tell us what websites sent traffic to your site and ranks them by the highest source. This is valuable information to know, especially if you can turn these into ongoing traffic streams.

Try this: Identify your biggest champions and start building relationships with them.

Qualitative Metrics to Watch – Qualitative data can tell us who is visiting your site, why they are visiting your site, how they behave on your site and even how they react to your content.

Time on Site/Page – How long are visitors spending on a specific article or page? You want to increase this.

Try this: Find ways to make articles more engaging. Use storytelling tools to draw the reader in and make them more likely to complete the article.

Bounce Rate – What percentage of people leave your site after entering from a specific page? This is different from the exit rate. Bounce rates often correlate closely with referrals. They are great for identifying articles and pages where you should be pitching readers more.

Try this: Watch for pages with high engagement and high bounce rates. On these pages, look for opportunities to add internal links.

Conversion – Conversions are the completion actions that are defined by your team. Newsletter sign-ups or purchases could be conversions. These can be tricky to set up but they are invaluable measurement tools.

Demographic/Browser/Device Info – Who is your actual audience? These metrics tell you the age, gender, device type, location and more about who is actually visiting your site.

Try this: Adjust coverage to cater to big audiences or pursue niche ones with impact.

Try this: Use this information to think and behave like your audience.

Take Action Right Now

Experiment with the following suggestions from Ren LaForme and see how they impact your analytics.

  • Try sharing articles at different times of the day. How often do you post to social? Why do you post at those times and days? “In general, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. is the best time to share new content on Facebook and Twitter,” according to LaForme. He also recommended not sharing the same link more than once per week on Facebook, but he did recommend posting often and differently on Twitter. TweetDeck and Buffer are low-key tools to get started scheduling posts.
  • Experiment with scheduling posts for nights and weekends. It will not bring in as much traffic on average, but you may be surprised by what takes off.
  • Reshare older content that previously did well. It is a good idea to keep a list of evergreen content to pull from throughout the year.
  • Improve your headlines. Consider all of the places across the Internet where your headline will appear. According to LaForme, “A good SEO-friendly headline contains keywords, proper nouns, full names and unique words and phrases.”
  • Pick an underserved demographic and brainstorm ways to appeal to them.
  • Set up alerts for spiking articles and share them wildly when one hits.
  • Tell stories with interactives, videos or other gold coins.
  • Aim for five-minute read times with newsletters.

Analytics Tools to Try

Leveraging Market Research

By Amy Jones

Research is an invaluable tool for brands or media organizations, but it’s important to know the right way to find and use it. To help navigate the ins and outs of market research, the team from Kynetec, a global leader in agriculture and animal health market research, presented best practices at the 2019 TOCA Annual Meeting.

Liz Vickerman and Kim Meyer

According to Kynetec market research specialists Liz Vickerman and Kim Meyer, there are two primary sources of data: secondary research developed by an outside company and research compiled by yourself using a variety of tools.

Secondary research is great, as it takes away the work of surveying people and analyzing data. Additionally, as many organizations and companies produce research studies, it is often easy to find and use data, as long as you are providing the necessary credit.

There are several resources that can be used to uncover secondary research:

  • Google Trends
  • Google Scholar
  • State of the industry reports
  • Organizations (e.g., National Golf Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture)

However, depending on the topic, secondary research may not be available. In that case, it might be time to move forward with your own market research. Before spending time, money or resources researching a topic, you should ascertain what you are trying to uncover.

To shape the research process, ask these questions:

  1. What is your objective?
  2. What is your audience/target?
  3. What is your current assumption/belief?
  4. Who needs to be involved in the research process (e.g., key stakeholders)?
  5. When do you need the information and when will the information’s usefulness expire?
  6. What will you do with the results?

Answers to the above questions will help provide clear direction and ensure you are getting the right information.


Liz Vickerman and Kim Meyer

Countless tools and resources can make the process of gathering research as simple or complex as you desire. Examples include self-serve survey software, sentiment analysis using an artificial intelligence platform, and online qualitative platforms.

Additionally, a vast variety of people, including agency partners, can offer a database of targeted resources, creative partners, trade show attendees and research suppliers that can provide their specific research expertise.

To proceed with a research project, consider several factors:

  • How much research do you need? Maybe your project just requires input from a few people, versus a massive polling of thousands of people. But if you are compiling research for a product launch, you should take in more information, as relying on one person’s opinion could have disastrous results.
  • How important is the question you are trying to answer? As mentioned above, a major product launch requires a lot of research, whereas choosing a tie color requires less input.
  • What is your budget? The budget drastically impacts the level of research. Depending on the importance of the question, you may need to provide more resources.
  • How complex is the research? This is determined by how much data you need and how you need the data to be analyzed – possibly requiring an outside company with more experience.
  • Where are you in the product’s life cycle? Different types of research make more sense, depending on stage of development. A supplier can help you determine the different types of research needed.

Several types of research that can be used, depending on what you are hoping to learn or uncover. A few options include:

  • Market exploration: Allows you to obtain information about the market, which is especially useful when exploring a new, unfamiliar market.
  • Market segmentation: Helps to define key target markets and determine the best strategy for each segment.
  • New product concept assessment: Assesses reactions to a new concept, including the likelihood of use and general price acceptance.
  • Ad concept or campaign testing: Evaluates several concepts or campaigns and determines the effectiveness of numerous diagnostics.
  • Pricing research: Assesses sales, profitability and elasticity at different pricing levels
  • Customer journey: Maps the path to purchase and helps with understanding touch points the target audience experiences with a brand.

Market research is an invaluable tool that can strengthen product launches, enhance articles or content, and help determine the right way to speak to a specific audience. However, it is critical to correctly conduct market research to ensure you are finding the right information. If not, the result can be wasted time and money.

GIE Horticultural Group 2018 Media Kit – Gardner Award Winner

Gardner Award Winner for Design – Publishing
Overall Media Kit Design
GIE Horticultural Group

by Dawn Rigby

We asked Irene Sweeney, marketing director, GIE Media, Inc., the following questions about the GIE Horticultural Group 2018 Media Kit.

Please briefly describe your winning project.

The GIE Horticultural Group 2018 Media kit is a combined positioning piece for the six titles within this segment of the companies. In addition to providing an overview of the focus and strength of each publication, the kit provides the latest multi-platform circulation reach for each title, editorial calendar and rates.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

Our main objective in the combined media kit was highlighting the individual strength of each title, while also conveying the power a publication group that spans the entire horticulture industry (from breeder, to grower, to retailer) offers to both readers and advertisers.

What influenced your approach?

While writing the content of the media kit, it occurred to me that each title and its strength could be defined by one word. Those words kept swirling around in my head to the point where I thought, wouldn’t all those words put together make an incredibly powerful statement on their own! I sketched out the cover idea for my design team and they took it from there.

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

The finished piece is an example of exactly what GIE Media is known for: award-winning content and design. We put as much effort into everything we produce – including this media kit – as we do our magazines and that is what makes it stand out from the rest.

‘Down But Not Out’

Gardner Award Winner – Publishing

Photography, Video and Multimedia
Golf Course Management magazine

by Britney Riggs

We asked Scott Hollister, editor-In-chief of Golf Course Management magazine, the following questions about the winning photography entry, “November GCM – Down But Not Out.”

Please briefly describe the winning entry. 

This image served as the lead photo for a feature story on a golf course superintendent who had suffered a serious head injury while on the job, his long road to recovery and the impact the injury had on his life and career.

What were the main objectives in developing this entry? 

Our primary goal was to get an image that put the focus on the subject of the story (and its author) but also tied the important role of the golf course in his recovery. We are very fortunate as a golf course publication to have some spectacular backdrops for photos, such as this one. And this photo of Brian Youell didn’t disappoint.

What influenced your approach? 

Brian had written previously for us about his experiences and this story was a follow-up to that one. Since the original story, he had made great progress in his recovery, had fully returned to work and had begun to share his story with others facing recoveries from head injuries. So, imagery that alluded to all of that was important to us.

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

I would hope it was because judges felt the finished product from the photographer, Chad Hipolito, delivered on the objectives we set out when planning this shoot. Hopefully, the ball in the bunker and the metaphorical tie to all that Brian Youell had been through in his life and career came through, as well. It didn’t hurt that the image had Brian in a triumphant position, rising above that ball in the bunker, and by extension, all that the head injury had brought his way.

A New Dawn: Dawn Rigby Joins TOCA Board

by Scott Covelli
EPIC Creative

Dawn Rigby is the marketing manager for Xylem Marketing (the marketing services division of Advanced Turf Solutions), based in Fishers, Ind. She recently added to her resumé by being elected to the TOCA board of directors, where she serves on the Professional Development committee. Read on to learn more about what makes Dawn shine in and out of the industry.

How did you originally get involved in the turf industry?

I was introduced to the industry when I joined Advanced Turf Solutions as a marketing coordinator in 2012. I was 25, relocating to the Indianapolis area from a different city, and open to any career opportunity that would allow me to learn and become a better marketer. I didn’t know much about the green industry, but I knew right away that Advanced Turf Solutions – with its employee-owned business model, entrepreneurial culture and passionate employees – was the opportunity I was seeking.

The company has grown a great deal since then and I have been fortunate enough to grow with it. Today, I’m the director of marketing for Advanced Turf Solutions and I lead the company’s marketing services division, Xylem Marketing.

What do you like best about TOCA?

I joined TOCA to pursue professional development opportunities within the green industry, but I got involved on committees and joined the board because of the people. For me, TOCA has been this amazing network of green industry communication experts who are there to support each other. It’s a community.

TOCA members are friendly, creative and a little quirky. They are passionate about our industry and they use their talents to elevate it. These are my people.

TOCA provides excellent professional development resources, too! The TOCA annual meetings offer in-depth writing workshops, panel discussions featuring industry experts and opportunities for idea sharing and networking.

What is your role at Xylem Marketing and what’s your favorite part of your job?
In 2017, we launched Xylem Marketing as a marketing services division of Advanced Turf Solutions. I am the managing director of Xylem Marketing and I love my job – especially working with my team, our clients and our partners in the green industry. My favorite part is contributing to the growth of a business or creating something new. When you can realize the success of a project and witness the results of your team’s efforts, that is a great feeling.

What’s a secret hobby or passion you have that not many people know?

I’m a minimalist. It’s not really a hobby, but I have grown rather passionate about it. Minimalism is about making room for what’s important by getting rid of what isn’t. I have always appreciated minimalist design, but my husband introduced me to the concept of minimalism as a lifestyle. With less “stuff,” we actually end up with more – more time, more money and more freedom.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Stay curious, try new things and fail fast. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work for leaders who gave me the freedom to experiment and empowered me to think of creative new ways to achieve success. But, not every new idea will result in success. The trick is to figure that out quickly. Failing fast means remaining agile. Develop new ideas incrementally an test them early. And if they don’t work, pivot and move on.

TurfNet to Host TOCA Intern in Ireland this Summer

By Jon Kiger, TurfNet

For the ninth year TurfNet will send a US-based turf student to Europe to work on a golf course, blog for TurfNet, and for the fourth year to represent TOCA as the media intern. Adam Galigher from Horry Georgetown Technical College in Myrtle Beach will spend the summer at historic Portmarnock Golf Club outside of Dublin, Ireland.

This is our first time at Portmarnock and our second time in the immediate Dublin area. It will be an historic summer for Adam and the crew at Portmarnock as they will host the R & A’s Amateur Championship (some refer to it as the British Amateur) in June. The qualifying rounds will also take place at The Island Golf Club in nearby Donabate. The Island Golf Club hosted Marty Richardson – the TurfNet/TOCA intern in 2017.

Galigher, 25 already has a music degree and is from Overland Park, KS. He has several seasons of experience working on a golf course and is roughly halfway through the program at Horry Georgetown. This is our second student from Horry Georgetown – Parker Stancil spent the summer in Denmark at Great Northern Golf.

In addition to serving on the regular crew, helping to host The Amateur Championship, and blogging for TurfNet, Adam has been approved to spend a week in Lahinch in County Clare as a volunteer for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club.

I asked Adam a few questions that will help TOCA members get to know him better….

  1. What drew you into studying golf course maintenance?

I started working on a golf course about 3 years ago and fell in love with the work. There’s something truly special about being out on a quiet golf course while the sun slowly rises. I decided to go back to school and study turf management when I moved from Kansas to Myrtle Beach to be closer to family. I got a job at Myrtle Beach National and within days the superintendent, an alumnus of the Horry Georgetown program sold me on pursuing turf management as a career. Now that I’ve finished my first semester of the program at HGTC my desire to make a successful career out of working in this industry has only been strengthened.

  1. What are you looking forward to about Ireland?

The TurfNet internship in Ireland will be my first experience outside the United States. Through my network of friends and great mentors I’ve heard fantastic things about the country. I’m excited to experience true Irish golf links during my stay at Portmarnock. The culture will be much different to anything I’m used to. Whether it will be regular day to day experiences or how golf courses are managed, it will be interesting to see the differences. Enjoying the natural scenery of Ireland will be one of my top pursuits during whatever free time I may have. As an avid hiker I’m looking forward to exploring the area around Portmarnock and other parts of Ireland. It will also be a great experience to develop my communications skills while blogging for TurfNet and representing TOCA.

  1. Where are you from and what is your background?

I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. Through grade school my greatest passion was music. Playing the double bass (upright bass) provided me with a very detail-oriented mindset as well as being goal driven. Through much hard work I was able to secure a full scholarship to study music performance at the University of Kansas. My experiences at KU have helped me greatly in finding success in turf management so far.

Adam plans to attend the TOCA meeting in Charlotte as he will already be in town volunteering at Quail Hollow for the Wells Fargo event there. He looks forward to meeting everyone there and representing both TOCA and TurfNet this summer.

Syngenta Divanem Nematicide Launch

Gardner Award Winner for Special Projects — Marketing Series — Two or more articles
by Jill Odom

We asked Mark LaFleur, communications lead for Turf and Ornamental, Syngenta, the following questions about the Divanem nematicide launch.

Please briefly describe your winning project.

Syngenta and its agencies were awarded a Gardner award for the launch of Divanem® nematicide. The launch included print and digital advertising, news releases, a media tour of trials conducted during the 2017 Golf Industry Show, videos, customer testimonials, targeted e-mail communications, new webpage, soil sampling kits, social media support and a pay-per-click campaign.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

Our launch of Divanem was really a two-pronged approach. Clearly, we wanted to create brand awareness of Divanem among golf course superintendents. That said, we wanted to take it one step further to educate superintendents about nematodes. So, we developed a comprehensive campaign that created awareness and educated.

What influenced your approach?

The approach we take to launching products is about more than selling a product. It is about providing a solution to a problem. We could have simply developed a print ad, sell sheet, product page and called it a day. But as the industry has transitioned cultural practices that are favorable to nematodes, we realized there was an information gap.

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

Ultimately, I think the fact that our campaign was so comprehensive and took several different approaches is what made our campaign stick out. Including things like a nematode sampling kit with information on how to take the samples and where to send them were quite unique. One other element that may have stuck out to the judges is the fact that many of our metrics for the campaign exceeded industry standards.

Project EverGreen to Host TOCA Intern

By Cindy Code
Project EverGreen

 

Non-profit Project EverGreen is pleased to once again host the 2019 TOCA marketing communications intern. Internships are a great way for students to learn more about a particular career focus and gain hands-on professional experience to get them ready for their post-graduation careers.

Last year’s TOCA intern – Kayla Kingston – is now a junior at the University of Dayton and is interning in Washington D.C. this summer with the DC Flyers program. She is studying communications and is scheduled to graduate in May 2020.

The second-year marketing communications internship is funded through the TOCA Foundation by Den and Sandy Gardner (Gardner & Gardner Communications, New Prague, Minn.) and Dave Hansen (Partner/CEO of Swanson Russell, a marketing communications firm based in Lincoln, Neb.).

“Project EverGreen is thrilled to host the TOCA marketing intern,” said Cindy Code of Project EverGreen. “Our intern will have the opportunity to contribute to all of our marketing communications efforts to promote our key initiatives and to grow our social media presence. We’re grateful to Den and Sandy (Gardner) and Dave (Hansen) for making this internship available.”

Project EverGreen is a national non-profit that works to create healthy yards, parks and public green spaces in urban areas in need. It also created and manages the GreenCare for Troops and SnowCare for Troops programs that provide free lawn, landscape and snow removal services for families of actively deployed military members.

The summer internship will include opportunities to write stories and profiles for the Project EverGreen website, travel to various communities to work on park projects, work on various social media platforms, participate in committee meetings, attend a trade show and learn about working for a non-profit.

Third Annual TOCA Silent Auction

Our TOCA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, N.C., is fast approaching! At the meeting we will hold our Third Annual Silent Auction to support the TOCA Foundation. Last year’s auction was incredibly successful; we raised almost $5,000 for the TOCA Foundation. Please consider donating this year.

Items receiving high bids last year were Yeti coolers and tumblers, food and drink gift sets, and not ONE, but TWO weeks at Den and Sandy Gardner’s beautiful Florida home! Den and Sandy generously added a second week for a second bidder as this auction item gathered a lot of well-deserved traffic. Gift cards and techie gifts also did well.

We are looking for items in the $50 to $200 range. If you don’t have an item, we ask you to contribute $50 and TOCA will find an item for the auction.

Here are some items that have done very well in the past:

  • Yeti cooler
  • Go-Pro Hero
  • Nespresso machine
  • Powerbeats wireless earphones
  • Wireless speaker
  • Jewelry – trio of bracelets
  • Food and adult beverage baskets

Some other donation ideas

  • School spirit baskets
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Foodie baskets – non-perishables, please! Perhaps, pair with a gift certificate.
  • Event tickets for a college or pro sports team
  • And of course, cash donations are appreciated. We can do the shopping for you!

Many thanks to all the donors and to the bid winners who help make this auction a success each year! All donations will be available for bid during the Wednesday evening reception and Thursday lunch during the TOCA Annual Meeting. Our goal is to obtain at least 20 donated items. (Remember, if you wouldn’t bid on it, no one else will either).

Have an idea? Need help with an idea? Feel free to reach out to Kyle (kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com) or Kristy (kristymach@gandgcomm.com).

Get 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 surfaces. 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 percent, 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. (Seriously, who runs that much a year. Just kidding!)
  3. Work toward a goal. If you are new to this running thing, try running for 20 minutes without stopping.
  4. Make sure you have proper gear, including a water-resistant jacket. Springs can result in very wet running surfaces.
  5. If you have seasonal allergies, consider running indoors until the allergy season dissipates.

For those new at the running game and needing a pair of running shoes, don’t try to do this solo. Go to a running specialty store and have an expert salesperson fit you. This is a must because that person will determine what type of foot you have and then get you into the proper type of shoe.

For those of you into running half marathons, here are some spring runs in the United States: Pride Run Phoenix Half Marathon, 10K & 5K, Phoenix, March 23; Salt Lake City Half Marathon, Salt Lake City, April 13; Flying Pirate Half Marathon, Kitty Hawk, N.C., April 14; New Prague Half Marathon, New Prague, Minn., May 4 (I’ll be running in this again – well, maybe NOT); Maine Coast Half Marathon, Biddeford, Maine, May 11; and Grandma’s Half Marathon, Duluth, Minn., June 22.

Finally, as always, be thinking while you run/walk about all the ways to make TOCA the best membership association it can be and planning your trip to Charlotte, N.C., for the annual meeting. And don’t forget to sign up for the 5K fun run/walk in Charlotte. That’s one of many ways YOU play a part in making TOCA the best it can be! Get or stay involved. Until next time, be well, be smart, be healthy and be TOCA! (Katie Beth Groover of Nufarm – I owe you one in Charlotte!)

 

Registration Open for TOCA’s 30th Annual Meeting in Charlotte

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

Registration is now open for TOCA’s 30th Annual Meeting in Charlotte, N.C., from April 30 through May 2.

As I did in the last issue of TOCA Talk, with “Carolina In My Mind,” let’s ponder the lyrics below and enjoy the link to one of James Taylor’s all-time greatest hits!

In my mind I’m gone to Carolina.

Can’t you see the sunshine?

Can’t you just feel the moonshine?

Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind?

Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind.

This is TOCA’s fourth trip to the Carolinas. TOCA did its meeting in Raleigh, N.C., in 1994 (home of the infamous golf course described by former TOCA President Ron Smith as “vegetatively challenged”), went back to Asheville, N.C., in 2011, with a trip in between in 2003 in Charleston, S.C.

The new Embassy Suites Uptown Charlotte is the location of this year’s meeting. With plenty of TOCA members in the state, attendees can count on a special event, with professional development geared to today’s green industry communicators, with a smattering of indoor and outdoor events that may hold a surprise or two for all.

TOCA has settled into a familiar and likable format the past several years. This year there are a couple tweaks/twists to the format. That means:

  • Board meeting Tuesday, April 30, in the afternoon.
  • The evening informal gathering of all TOCA members and the “newbie/first timers” event will be held again, but the dinner that follows will include everyone who wants to join an evening of mingling at a restaurant, which is still being determined. Regardless, any TOCA member, the board and the “newbies” will dine together.
  • On Wednesday morning, we will continue our current format as we recognize our Environmental Communicator of the Year (sponsored by Project EverGreen) and our intern.
  • The remainder of the morning will be a workshop titled, “Interview Tips & Tales from the Press Box: Lessons on Becoming Professional-Grade Curious,” featuring Mick Mixon, play-by-play announcer for the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers. In addition to 40 years of experience as a sports announcer, Mixon has taught classes for the University of North Carolina School of Media and Journalism and Wake Forest University School of Business. He won a regional Emmy in 2008 and was named North Carolina Sportscaster of the Year three times.
  • Wednesday afternoon will also be a new twist as ALL members interested will be treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. The official tournament start is Thursday and TOCA members will get a look at course preparations by the staff at Quail Hollow. There is no golf tournament this year.
  • Our opening night reception Wednesday evening promises to highlight all that TOCA and Charlotte have to offer the attendees.
  • Thursday is a full day, which includes our keynote speaker, workshops/seminars, the important business meeting and the evening awards banquet, which recognizes the best in TOCA communications. Also, TOCA will induct an outstanding member into the TOCA Hall of Fame.

Wednesday Tour at Quail Hollow

Scott Hollister of Golf Course Superintendents Association of America has been working diligently with Keith Wood and Shane Ormann from Quail Hollow on the TOCA field trip. “They were excited about the prospect of having us there and are very willing to work with us in any way we need to make this a success,” said Hollister.

The tentative agenda is below.

  • Noon-12:30 p.m. — Travel to Quail Hollow (this will likely be by bus)
  • 12:30-12:45 p.m. — Get badges, go through security, etc.
  • 12:45-1:15 p.m. — Tour of media center with Lee Patterson
  • 1:15-1:30 p.m. — Walk/carts to maintenance facility
  • 1:30-2:30 p.m. — Presentations with Keith, PGA Tour Agronomy, etc.
  • 2:30-3:00 p.m. — Tour of maintenance facility
  • 3:00-5:00 p.m. — Free time on the golf course
  • 5:00-5:30 p.m. — Travel to Embassy Suites

People will be free to head back to the hotel after the main tour is over about 3 p.m. There are busses running from the hotels to the golf course during this time. People can return at their leisure.

Ren LaForme returns

We are thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker Ren LaForme returns this year after getting rave reviews last year in Cincinnati. LaForme, digital tools reporter, the Poynter Institute, wowed the crowd last year with his presentation on new digital tools.

“I’m finishing part two for my main digital tools presentation,” LaForme told us. “I’m planning to split that new work into its own session and dig deep into how to take advantage of those great, new technologies.”

It’s also likely LaForme will dig into metrics because, as he says, “Metrics matter in that they give us the feedback that we need to make our work better (and keep our companies/clients/associations, etc., happy).”

LaForme will likely speak on two overarching types of analytics information and what you can learn about your work and your audiences from each. “Then, we’ll cover how you can improve them and ‘easy wins’ to try right now,” he said.” Then, we’ll go beyond website metrics and talk about information you can learn from social media and elsewhere.” 

Panel on branded content/native advertising

The Thursday afternoon panel will represent experts from legal to media to marketing, as this method to reach audiences continues to be popular amid some controversies to be explored by the panel.

Confirmed panelists include two business-to-business media experts, representing a national ag media company and a public relations (PR) guru known well to TOCA members. Our publishing portion of the panel will be handled by Gregg Hillyer (an editorial director in St. Louis) and Sheri Seger (an advertising director in Chicago) from DTN/The Progressive Farmer. Our PR expert will be McGavock Edwards, strategic communications director for Eckel & Vaughan, Raleigh, N.C. McGavock is a past TOCA board president (many years ago) but has mostly been out of the Green Industry the past few years. Most recently, she is back doing some senior consulting for a new turf and ornamental equipment company client at Eckel & Vaughan.

Market research

The need for affordable, yet effective market research continues to be of key importance to TOCA members. To that end, a market research session that will focus on conducting this important work on a reasonable budget will be led by Kim Meyer, Kynetec.

TOCA strategic plan

As you know, TOCA is now 30 years old. The board, through phone interviews, a survey to all members and a two-day strategic plan workshop, is ready to provide members with a look at what the next several years will look like for the organization as it transitions for the future.

This will be conducted during the business meeting at the end of the day Thursday.

The TOCA Program Committee – Scott Hollister, Mark LaFleur, Lyndsey Newnam, Amy Jones, Pat Morrow, Cindy Code, Russ Warner and staff – is to be commended for its work on this year’s program.

TOCA also thanks G&S Business Communications in Raleigh, which has stepped up to handle the theme for 2019 and the awards program.

Finally, we also remind TOCA members about the TOCA Foundation Silent Auction. The first year we brought in $4,000 and last year that amount increased to $5,000. The foundation is used to fund our youth programs, such as scholarships and internships.

All members are encouraged to donate an item for the auction. Contact Kyle Wieskus at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com for more information. Pat Morrow of Bayer (patricia.morrow@bayer.com) is the volunteer chair. Or, go to the TOCA website at www.toca.org and link to the silent auction forms.

See you soon in Charlotte!

The President’s Corner

By Scott Hollister, TOCA Board President

For those of us who have been a part of TOCA for more than a few years, the fact that the upcoming annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C., April 30-May 2, will be the organization’s 30th such gathering is pretty hard to fathom.

The organization’s first annual meeting in 1989 drew just 17 attendees to Atlanta. There were no guarantees that TOCA would even make it to annual meeting No. 2, but here we sit three decades later.

We have the gold standard for communications-focused professional development events in the green industry. We have an overall membership that has grown well north of 200. We have a communications contest that routinely attracts more than 400 entries. We’re sound financially, have a dedicated executive management company in Gardner & Gardner Communications, and have an involved and invested board of directors.

So, yeah, there is plenty to celebrate as we head to the Queen City for our 30th annual meeting. But as healthy as I believe it is to reflect on past successes, doing that at the expense of examining where you are currently and where you’re headed is a recipe for trouble.

That’s why I was so encouraged by the results of a strategic planning meeting that took place in late February in Fort Myers, Fla. Led by consultant Steve Drake, the meeting brought together many members of TOCA’s board of directors and management staff to look ahead, set organizational goals and determine the best path to reach those goals.

I won’t go into too many details about the outcomes of that meeting. Those who attend the annual business meeting in Charlotte will get a full debrief. But I will tell you that the same ethos that has guided TOCA for the past 30 years – a desire to come together to network, refine our professional skills and celebrate the work that we all do – was front and center during these meetings and will remain key in ensuring that we all achieve what we set out to do during the strategic planning meeting.

We talked about increased educational opportunities for our members. We talked about using technology more efficiently and more consistently. And we talked about making sure our flagship event, the annual meeting, doesn’t rest on its laurels and continues to innovate and improve. We also are cognizant of meeting the needs of our new members, many young professionals whose needs may not match those who met in Atlanta 30 years ago.

For those heading to Charlotte, you’ll find we didn’t wait for the strategic plan to put that last one into place, with plenty of new offerings and special opportunities. Those tweaks will be most notable on Wednesday afternoon, as we combine two traditional offerings – our golf outing and our informational tour – into one great new event.

Our visit to Charlotte happens to correspond with the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club. We decided we couldn’t pass up this unique opportunity and will be combining golf (no, we’re not playing in the tournament) and the tour for a special behind-the-scenes visit to Quail Hollow. We’ll visit with Superintendent Keith Wood and PGA Tour agronomy team members, get an idea of what goes into preparations for a professional golf event, tour both the maintenance facility and the media center, and have a little time to walk the grounds and watch a little golf (for those inclined to stay past the official activities).

Consider it a sneak preview into what will come out of our strategic planning efforts and just another example of TOCA working to meet your expectations and make your membership experience that much better.

The years ahead hold much promise for you personally and professionally as a TOCA member. Use this year’s meeting to make your commitment to get involved in a committee, enter the contest (deadline coming soon) and get the most out of the professional development offered to you.

Our first TOCA President Jerry Roche said 30 years ago, when TOCA was organized, “How on earth are we going to get people who compete with each other every day to work together as an effective professional organization?”

Five years ago, when he was inducted into the TOCA Hall of Fame, he saw first-hand what did happen when those people got together. We are all eager to continue for the next 30 years what Roche and others started in the late 1980s. We want you to be part of that effort as we work to be relevant in your professional lives. See you in Charlotte!

Washington Association of Landscape Professionals

Northwest Landscape Professional is the official magazine of WALP. With over 1,500 copies distributed with each publication it reaches every member plus a broad number of industry professionals on a quarterly basis, offering companies a unique opportunity to target the Landscape Industry throughout Washington State. The Magazine is published March, June (annual directory issue), September and December (annual conference issue). Maximize your visibility by cross-promoting your print ads on WALP’s digital platforms – the WALP website and WALP’s enewsletter, WALP Wednesday. Check out their content and advertising opportunities.

Contact Peter Dervin at peter@walp.org or call 360-350-4464.

Digital & Social Media Consultant

Gardner & Gardner Communications, an association management group, seeks an experienced digital and social media consultant to develop and execute digital and social media strategy for association clients.

Will turn needs into a strategy and then execute high value social media campaigns. You will be directly responsible for measuring social media effectiveness for creating brand awareness for up to six member associations.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Experience in the creation and deployment of global social media strategies.
  • Experience with Social Media Management tools and platforms
  • Knowledge of audience management through social media platforms.
  • Well organized demeanor and willingness to prioritize and share plans.
  • Ability to think about social media beyond brand impact and think about customer journey and engagement.
  • Experience with WordPress websites.
  • Thinks about metrics and can demonstrate impact of strategy with platform analytics and Google Analytics.
  • Performs additional duties as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS

Education and Experience:

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in public relations, marketing or a related field. Must be a self-starter and be able to work independently. Knowledge of agriculture is preferred, but not required. Must have at least 2-5 years’ experience with digital and social media, has an eagerness to try innovative things and is not afraid to take risks to communicate to our audiences. Must be able to work in a fast pace environment, multi task, and have good communication skills, both verbally and in writing.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of Hootsuite or other Social Media Management tools.
  • Knowledge of WordPress and Divi builder.
  • Knowledge of Google Analytics.
  • Knowledge of content deployment requirements for social channels.
  • Skills in establishing effective interpersonal relationships such as the ability to solicit key ideas and information.
  • Skills in planning, organizing, time management and multi-tasking.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills including writing skills.
  • Ability to plan, organize and multi-task to complete assignments in an efficient manner.
  • Ability to pay attention to details and perform at a high-level accuracy.

Gardner & Gardner Communications serves for four national/international dairy membership associations and two communications associations in agriculture/green industry. This consultant would provide services to those associations. Estimated hours per week is 20-30 hours.

Please contact Den Gardner (dengardner@gandgcomm.com) and/or Kristy Mach (kristymach@gandgcomm.com) with any questions. Send resume and fee requirements by March 1, 2019.

Plans Continue for TOCA’s 30th Annual Meeting in Charlotte

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

TOCA’s 30th annual meeting is just four months away and the program committee is diligently putting the final touches on a meeting you won’t want to miss.

As I stated in our previous issue of TOCA Talk, Carolina brings award-winning singer/songwriter James Taylor to mind – or is that “Carolina In My Mind”?

In my mind I’m going to Carolina.
Can’t you see the sunshine, can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind?
Yes, I’m gone to Carolina in my mind.

It’s our fourth meeting in 30 years in the Carolinas, having done our meeting in Raleigh, N.C., in 1994 (home of the infamous golf course described by former TOCA President Ron Smith as “vegetatively challenged”), went back to Asheville, N.C., in 2011, with a trip in between to Charleston, S.C., in 2003.

Embassy Suites Charlotte Uptown

So, mark your calendars for April 30 through May 2, at the new Embassy Suites Uptown Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte is one of America’s fastest-growing cities. With plenty of TOCA members in the state, attendees can count on a special event, with professional development geared to today’s green industry communicators, with a smattering of indoor and outdoor events that may hold a surprise or two for all.

We are thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker Ren LaForme returns this year after getting rave reviews last year in Cincinnati. LaForme, Poynter Institute digital tools reporter, wowed the crowd last year with his presentation on new digital tools.

Ren LaForme, Digital Tools Reporter, Poynter Institute

“I’m working on a part two for my main digital tools presentation as we speak,” LaForme told us recently. “I’m planning to split that new work into its own session and dig deep into how to take advantage of those great, new technologies.”

It’s also likely LaForme will dig into metrics because, as he says, “metrics matter in that they give us the feedback we need to make our work better (and keep our companies/clients/associations, etc., happy).”

LaForme will likely speak on two overarching types of analytics information and what you can learn about your work and your audiences from each. “Then, we’ll cover how you can improve them and easy wins to try right now,” he said. “Then, we’ll go beyond website metrics and talk about information you can learn from social media and elsewhere.”

Other key highlights of this year’s meeting include (all are tentative at this point):

  • Behind-the-scenes tour of Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, site of the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship PGA golf tournament. The tournament is scheduled for the week of our meeting and the program committee is working to confirm that special look at the golf course during tournament week and the preparations to make the course ready for the world’s best golfers. This tour would be Wednesday afternoon.
  • Earlier on Wednesday, a seminar on proper interviewing techniques. “Professional-grade Curious,” with Mick Mixon, the play-by-play radio voice announcer for the Carolina Panthers
  • On Thursday, look for a panel on branded content/native advertising. This panel will represent experts from legal to media to marketing, as this method to reach audiences continues to be popular amid some controversies to be explored by the panel.
  • A market research session that will focus on conducting this important work on a reasonable budget.
  • An update on TOCA’s new strategic plan. This will be provided during the all-important business meeting.
  • The traditional awards banquet will conclude this year’s meeting Thursday evening.

The TOCA Program Committee – Scott Hollister, Mark LaFleur, Lyndsey Newnam, Amy Jones, Pat Morrow, Cindy Code, Russ Warner and staff – is also investigating a new format for an informal Tuesday evening dinner for early attendees to join the TOCA board of directors for a meal at a to-be-determined location.

We are thrilled that G&S Business Communications in Raleigh has stepped up to handle the theme for 2019 and awards program.

For those looking at your calendars, a snapshot of this year’s meeting looks like this:

  • Board meeting on Tuesday, April 30, with an evening informal gathering (tentative) of all TOCA members and the “newbie/first-timers” dinner.
  • Wednesday morning will begin the program as we recognize our Environmental Communicator of the Year (sponsored by Project EverGreen), introduce our intern(s) and a workshop to round out the morning.
  • Wednesday afternoon tentatively takes us to Quail Hollow. If this occurs, there will be no golf tournament this year.
  • Our opening night reception on Wednesday evening promises to highlight all that TOCA and Charlotte have to offer its attendees. Location is to be determined.
  • Thursday is a full day with our keynote speaker, workshops/seminars, business meeting and evening awards banquet, which recognizes the best in TOCA communications.

We also remind TOCA members about the TOCA Foundation Silent Auction. The first year we brought in $4,000 and last year that amount reached $5,000. The foundation funds our youth programs, such as our scholarships and intern program. All members are encouraged to donate an item for the auction. Contact Kyle Wieskus at kylewieskus@gandgcomm.com for more information. Pat Morrow of Bayer (patricia.morrow@bayer.com) is the volunteer chair. Or, go to the TOCA website at www.toca.org and link to the silent auction forms.

See you in Charlotte!

Gardner Award Winner for Writing – Publishing Series – Two or more articles

‘When the Creek Rises’

Gardner Award Winner for Writing – Publishing
Series – Two or more articles

Golf Course Industry

by Debbie Clayton

Guy Cipriano

We asked Guy Cipriano, Golf Course Industry magazine senior editor, the following questions about his series “When the Creek Rises.”

Please briefly describe your winning project.

“When the creek rises” was a three-part series about the historic West Virginia flood of 2016 and the ensuing inspirational rebuild of the golf courses at The Greenbrier, a historic resort in the southern part of the state.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

To tell the story of how The Greenbrier’s golf course maintenance team endured a horrific event to meet ambitious deadlines and elevate the morale of an entire region. The Greenbrier is the largest employer in southern West Virginia and golf is a key part of the resort, thus making it a giant economic driver. The teamwork, grit and talent required to rebuild The Old White TPC in time for the PGA Tour’s 2017 Greenbrier Classic helped the region recover from a natural disaster that didn’t receive significant national media coverage. At Golf Course Industry, we try to tell stories that inspire and help others in the golf business. Learning the plight of The Greenbrier team helped many of our readers put their own problems into perspective.

What influenced your approach?

The people. The more time I spent in West Virginia, the more I realized this story extended beyond golf course maintenance or construction. Everybody in Greenbrier County seemed to know somebody who lost a family member, friend or acquaintance in the flood. One member of The Greenbrier team lost a family member. Others lost their homes. Despite these losses, they all returned to their jobs and worked long hours to rebuild the golf courses. Not one person told me they considered leaving their job or the region following the flood. This series was about those people. They shared their story with a stranger, which isn’t easy to do. They also provided incredible access, despite overwhelming workloads. I’ll be forever grateful for the relationships established while working on this series.

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

The human side of it. We sometimes focus so much on technical, agronomic and product stories that we forget about the people in the golf, lawn and sports turf businesses. And when we do write about people, we focus on key decision makers, such as golf course superintendents, landscape contractors and sports turf managers. General crew members, many who execute terrific work in anonymity, proved to be compelling subjects because of their loyalty to the resort and region.

We were fortunate to have a tremendous partner in John Deere, which believed in the power of telling an inspirational people story to the golf industry. Our Golf Course Industry team made the series stand out and they provided me with the resources to spend as much time in West Virginia as I needed. The Hampton Inn in Lewisburg, W.V., developed into a second home; The Wild Bean became a second office; and John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” ascended to the top of my playlist. There might only be one name on the byline, but Jim Blayney, Pat Jones, Russ Warner and Mike Zawacki deserve an equal amount of credit for this project’s success.

Gardner Award Winner for Special Projects – Marketing Series

Syngenta Divanem Nematicide Launch

Gardner Award Winner for Special Projects – Marketing
Series – Two or more articles

by Debbie Clayton

Lyndsey Newnam

We asked Lyndsey Newnam, G&S Business Communications vice president, the following questions about her project, Divanem Nematicidie Launch.

Please briefly describe your winning project.

Nematodes are destructive, parasitic pests that feed on plant roots and damage turf quality. To address this issue, Syngenta developed Divanem nematicide, a new product for the turf industry with proven, broad-spectrum control of sting, lance and root-knot nematodes.

G&S Business Communications (G&S) and Martin Williams (MW) were tasked with developing an integrated launch campaign for Divanem in early 2017 that targeted golf course superintendents. The launch included print and digital advertising, news releases, media tour, targeted e-mail communications, new webpage, soil sampling kits, social media support and a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

  • Introduce Divanem to the turf industry through a variety of media.
  • Educate industry professionals about the features and benefits of Divanem.
  • Acquire media coverage in targeted trade publications.

What influenced your approach?

G&S and MW worked together to develop a comprehensive campaign that clearly and effectively directed audiences to the information they needed about Divanem. We used a myriad of tactics to communicate with the target audiences via all the different ways they obtain information, ranging from traditional print tactics to targeted digital tactics and in-person experiences. The launch aligned well with the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando, Fla., which is a target region for nematode stress. The show gave us a great opportunity to reach a lot of superintendents and media in a focused time and area.

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

At G&S, we like to make informed decisions that drive our communications strategy for clients. To do this, proper metrics and analytics are essential and invaluable insights. For several aspects of this campaign, including social media, PPC, website and e-mail communications, we were able to target specific audiences based on interests or historical purchases, and customize our communications to better align with their needs. Gathering metrics along the way allowed us to fine-tune the tactics for maximum impact and provided insights for future Divanem communications. Additionally, we worked closely with MW to ensure different aspects of the campaign complemented each other creatively for a strong, unified launch.

 

Gardner Award Winner for Photography, Video and Multi-Media – Marketing Communications

Rain Bird’s ‘Defend Your Turf’

Gardner Award Winner for Photography, Video and Multi-Media – Marketing Communications

Best Short Video/DVD
Swanson Russell

by Courtney Mullen

We asked Jason Schmaderer, Swanson Russell vice president – account director, the following questions about his project, “Defend Your Turf.”

Please briefly describe your winning project.

To communicate key Rain Bird differentiators in a market where peer input drives decisions, we created a platform that allowed superintendents from across the country to tell their stories of Rain Bird irrigation success in their own words. This series of testimonial-driven videos highlights a pain point or problem each superintendent faced on their course and how they were able to solve it through their partnership with Rain Bird.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?
We wanted to drive awareness of the innovative products, service and expertise that Rain Bird can offer and position Rain Bird as a partner for golf course superintendents’ needs.

What influenced your approach?

Two key insights influenced our approach. First, we recognize superintendents are often in a highly scrutinized, stressful environment. Faced with labor challenges and member/customer expectations, they’re forced to do more with less and budgets are closely examined. An irrigation system is crucially important, but they don’t want to or have the time to think about it. They need to trust in product performance and expect the brand to provide 24/7 support because the system simply has to work as designed and touted. And second, among superintendents, peer word of mouth is a strong influencer in the decision-making process. We strive to build Real Connection™ among our audiences and the brand. And in this case, we felt our message was delivered in the most impactful way coming directly from the mouths of people our audience rely on most – their peers.

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

Authenticity. Golf courses and superintendents have different needs. A manufacturer can provide features, benefits and data to market their products and services, but the best proof points come directly from the positive stories shared by the people actually using them. For every interview, we prepared questions and key themes to highlight, but what stood out was the story diversity told by each superintendent – why they chose Rain Bird and how a product allowed them to overcome a unique challenge. The authenticity of these stories makes this video series an impactful tool to deliver campaign objectives and a successful mouthpiece for advocating the Rain Bird brand.

 

Gardner Award Winner for New Media – Marketing Communications

National Aerate Your Lawn Day Campaign

Gardner Award Winner for New Media – Marketing Communications
Websites
EPIC Creative

by Dawn Rigby

We asked Scott Covelli, EPIC Creative public relations supervisor, the following questions about the “RYAN – National Aerate Your Lawn Day – Campaign.”

Please briefly describe your winning project.

On behalf of our client RYAN, which makes turf renovation products such as aerators and sod cutters, we launched an unofficial new holiday called “National” Aerate Your Lawn Day. The holiday aims to educate both lawn care professional and homeowners on the importance of aeration. The hub of the holiday is a website – AerateYourLawnToday.com. For the pros, we focused on how aeration services can grow their business; and for homeowners, we sought to show them that aeration will help improve their lawn health and increase their home’s value and curb appeal.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

The first goal was education. The website provided information specifically for pros and homeowners, so we knew we were providing valuable content for each audience. We knew that not everyone aerated their lawns and not every landscaper offered aeration services. Aeration can seem like a daunting task, so we wanted to empower website visitors and show them that it’s much easier than they think. In the end, we encouraged homeowners to ask their local rental stores or their lawn care service about aeration. On the pro side, we wanted them to sell aeration services to their customers, helping them grow their businesses.

What influenced your approach?

Fall is a very popular time to aerate lawns, but many people still don’t, despite all the benefits. We saw an opportunity to bring to light how important aeration is while telling people that “now is the perfect time to aerate!” It was a step further than “do it;” it was more like “here’s WHY you should do it.” That was an exciting challenge.

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

When we pitched this idea to industry publications, we received a lot of positive feedback that they’d never seen anything like this before in the turf industry. The unofficial holiday concept is fun and inclusive, turning what seems like a cumbersome task into something much more inviting. Plus, it brought attention to something that a lot of people have heard about but not as many people do.

 

BIGGA Launches BTME Digital Media Centre

By Karl Hansell, BIGGA Communications Executive

Large exhibitions by their very nature take up a large amount of resources. Bringing people together from all over Europe is no small feat, but the golf industry is making strides toward sustainability and we’re keen on leading that charge.

BTME in Harrogate, England

British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) supports schemes such as The R&A’s Golf Course 2030. Also, we’re the official media partner of STRI’s (Sports Turf Research Institute) Golf Environment Awards.

So, many of our members are getting involved with ways of reducing waste, recycling and promoting best practices regarding environmental awareness. We believe that BIGGA should do what it can to follow suit. That’s why we’ve worked hard this year to implement a Digital Media Centre at BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME). It’s just one small step, but we’re moving in the right direction and hopefully as it catches on, other schemes will come into force and BTME will get better and better.

With public relations staff and press officers writing huge amounts about their products digitally and then journalists typing those words into their digital newsletters, or working for print through a digital platform, it makes sense to cut out the middleman. Printing documents seems wasteful and doesn’t suit the modern image of golf and greenkeeping.

The idea of a digital media office was broached by Ellie Parry of Forte Marketing at BTME 2018 and I immediately saw the potential. I’m delighted that with the launch of our new website in 2018, we had the opportunity to implement this new digital platform. I think the possibilities are endless and it’s great that we’re able to take these first small steps toward a more sustainable show.

The ever-popular BTME Welcome Celebration will return in 2019.

With the Digital Media Centre, we’ll be phasing out printed new releases and information over the coming years, asking communications staff to instead upload their information to that platform and reduce the number of printed documents they bring to the show.

This will not only be more efficient, tidier and sustainable, but it will also allow journalists to access the information in the weeks following the event, while giving access to news from those who weren’t able to attend.

The BTME 2019 Digital Media Centre is accessible here https://www.bigga.org.uk/btme/btme-2019-digital-media-centre.html

Winter Running

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Now that the mid-term elections are over (are they still recounting?), it’s time to get back to some serious conditioning and enjoying the few tidbits shared here about running.

Most of this article will deal with running in northern states – where there is snow on the ground and roadways. Wintertime running can be invigorating as long as you prepare appropriately and be safe. If you live in warmer climates, just skip my column this month. Ha!

A good friend of mine once told me – regarding running outside in the winter: “Get a taxi and head for a gym. Run on the treadmill for a couple of hours.” The only negative to that is the loss of that wonderful feeling when you finish a run in zero-degree weather – and head indoors for a hot shower. If you’re going to jog outside, wear a helmet. Skis? Head for the closest psychiatrist’s office? Just kidding.

My other good friend (I have only two – another sad story to share another time) once told me to forget running in the winter altogether. He said if you are near the end of the year and you are nowhere near meeting the goals you had set for the running season, this can be very disheartening. That’s why it is simply a good idea to stop – accept defeat – and head for the nearest watering hole. There is always next spring to get started again. Or select another form of exercise. Kidding again!

Be careful out there during the winter running season. A lot of incidents can happen that are not positive. However, check out some past winter issues of TOCA Talk for my suggestions regarding safety on winter roadways. Start with a pair of new running shoes as a holiday present.

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!

Last year I wrote the following message to close my winter column: Anyone who responds positively to the editors regarding this issue’s running article will be rewarded famously at the next TOCA Annual Meeting. No one did. Let’s try again. I shall see you in Charlotte in 2019. Can spring be far away?

 

 

 

 

TOCA Offers $2,500 Scholarship

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) Foundation urges college undergraduate students pursuing a career in green industry communications to apply for its $2,500 scholarship. Potential careers include working for trade publications, newsletters or companies/marketing agencies that promote the golf course, lawn and landscape, sod and nursery/greenhouse, sports turf or maintenance industries.

TOCA scholarship eligibility includes majoring or minoring in communications or a green industry-related field in a two- or four-year program at institutions that offer turf management curriculums and communications. Typical majors include horticulture, plant sciences, botany, agronomy or plant pathology. Applicants must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or more and a 3.0 GPA in the major area of study (based on a 4.0 scale).

The TOCA scholarship application and supplemental materials must be combined within one PDF file and sent via e-mail by March 15, 2019. Click here for TOCA scholarship instructions and requirements.

For further information, contact the TOCA office at 952-758-6340 or toca@gandgcomm.com.

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

 

Introducing Scott Covelli

By Britney Riggs, Xylem Marketing

Scott Covelli is public relations supervisor for EPIC Creative, based in West Bend, Wis. He was recently elected to the TOCA board of directors and serves on the TOCA Professional Development Committee.

How did you get involved in the turf industry?

I joined EPIC Creative in 2014 and quickly started working on the Schiller Ground Care account, which includes the BOB-CAT, RYAN and Steiner brands. I started doing mostly social media work for those brands, but over the last few years, I’ve taken on more of a public relations (PR)/media relations role. We also have many other turf industry brands at EPIC. It’s a big part of our business and I’m thankful to be involved in this great industry.

What is your favorite part of your job at EPIC?

The relationships and the stories we get to tell. I like working with people and collaborating to build something that we could never have done alone. To that end, as a PR person, it’s exciting to find real stories that help showcase your clients’ values and connect with their audience. PR can often get a bad rap for being about “spin,” but I see it as an opportunity to tell meaningful stories.

What do you like to do when not working?

Scott Covelli, EPIC Creative

I’m a big Chicago sports fan, so you’ll often find me watching Cubs or Bears games. I also love to run and I’m always down to check out the cool new coffee shop or brewery in town. Finally, I really enjoy being a volunteer leader for a youth organization called Young Life, which helps give high school students safe spaces to be themselves, positive adult presence in their lives, and the message of a God who loves them.

What do you like best about TOCA?

As a PR person, by far my favorite part about TOCA is networking and building relationships with people in the industry. But it’s not just about the professional connections. I’d call myself an outgoing person; I really enjoy making new friends and getting to know more about them than just their 9-to-5 jobs.

TOCA helps me do my job better because I’ve gotten to know turf media members. We’ve developed trust and connections that help us tell better stories. The way that competing agencies, manufacturers and publications can come together to improve the industry is an amazing example of common ground in what seems to be a more and more divisive world.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired when I see people give selflessly to others – whether it’s their time, money or just laying down their comforts or preferences to benefit others. That’s just the most powerful inspiration for me.

What song do you get stuck in your head most often?

Lately, it’s been Needtobreathe or Ben Rector. BUT if I had to pick the one song that always gets stuck in my head when I hear it, it’s the legendary “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood.

The President’s Corner: “Just when I thought I was out…”

The President’s Corner
By Scott Hollister, TOCA Board President

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” – Michael Corleone

When I first heard the news that two great green industry friends and two stalwarts on the TOCA board of directors were moving on, I was immediately reminded of this quote from “The Godfather, Part III.” It’s a truly great line from what in this reviewer’s mind was an otherwise ho-hum movie (hot take: “The Godfather, Part II” is the best film in the series).

I have had the privilege to work with both Lacy Ravencraft from Ewing Irrigation and Marisa Palmieri from North Coast Media and Landscape Management magazine for many years, most notably through TOCA board service. And as I wrapped up my two years as TOCA president and chairman of the board of directors in May 2017, I was excited that Lacy would be following me into the association’s presidency and that Marisa was right behind as our vice president. The future, I knew, was in good hands.

But as we all know and have all likely experienced in our careers, things change. So earlier this year, when the TOCA board learned, in relatively short succession, that Lacy was leaving Ewing in search of greener pastures and that Marisa was leaving North Coast to spend more time with her family, I was not shocked. I was sad and disappointed that two friends were leaving the business, to be sure, and also really happy that they both were about to embark on new adventures in life, but definitely not shocked.

It was as that news settled in and I began to think about how losing our president and vice president midway through their terms would impact TOCA that the great line posted above started to come to mind. Because I quickly realized that just as I was about to wrap up my board service to the association, it was very possible that TOCA was going to pull me back into a leadership role.

And that’s exactly what transpired, as TOCA’s executive management – Den Gardner and Kristy Mach – asked if I would consider serving in an interim role as board chairman while we sorted out how to fill those two vacancies. But unlike Michael Corleone, who reluctantly returned to the family’s fold when asked, I was more than happy to accept their offer, which is why you’re reading my words once again in this space (really, I’m sorry about that).

As I noted several times during my earlier stint as TOCA president, this association has been very important to my growth and development as a professional in green industry communications. To be able to give back in any way was the least I could do to help pay back some of what I have received through involvement in this association, whether that was in a regular role on the board of directors or through these interim duties.

And you’ll be happy to hear that this current setup is indeed temporary. During the TOCA board’s most recent meeting at GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., we put in place a plan that we’re confident will keep the association on the upward trajectory that it has enjoyed over the past decade. We’re excited to unveil those plans to the full membership during the TOCA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, N.C., this May, where I’ll happily turn over the reins to new leadership and resume my transition back to the rank and file.

But should the call ever come again to serve TOCA at another level, I’ll be ready. If there is one organization that I don’t mind being pulled back into, it is most definitely this one.

Gardner Award for Special Projects – Publishing Special Event 

 “2017 US Open Tournament Preparation Coverage” by EPIC Creative

Gardner Award Winner for Special Projects – Publishing Special Event 
by Dawn Rigby

We asked Tim Merath, Chief Operations Officer at EPIC Creative, the following questions about the “2017 US Open Tournament Preparation Coverage.”

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

(Left to right) Miles Cooksy – EPIC Creative, Bryan Pechacek – EPIC Creative, Zach Reineking – Superintendent of Erin Hills Golf Club

When we were covering the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills, we wanted to feature and promote the intense and often unheralded work that the golf course maintenance crew undertakes in order to pull off a world-class athletic event. We went where the television cameras were not and captured the real-life stories behind the turf. By shedding light on the crew and their efforts, the audience at home, consisting of superintendents, assistants mechanics, students, and other industry professionals, could learn from the lessons executed at the highest level.

What influenced your approach?

The approach we took was to not only capture the obvious beauty shots on the course

but to also tie the drama in the rolling landscape at Erin Hills into the ups and downs taking place before play had begun. We took time to get to know the crew, dig into stories that developed while we were there, and kept our eyes and ears open to the happenings around us. At the heart of our work is the desire to show the real and tangible personalities behind the course.

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

Our storytelling is what set our work apart for the 2017 US Open coverage. The work that went into finding and capturing the stories with honesty and respect sets us apart within the industry for not only this project but for all the work we do at GCSAA TV.

 

TOCA Fireside Chat at the 2018 Irrigation Show

Don’t miss the TOCA Fireside Chat at the 2019 Irrigation Show.

Plans are underway for a fantastic panel discussion on “Keeping Cyclical Content Fresh.”

Presented by TOCA and Ewing Irrigation, we invite you to the Long Beach Convention Center on December 5 for a 2 p.m. discussion and get-together.

Watch your inbox for more information!

TOCA Breakfast at GIE+Expo – Fuel Your Growth!

This year’s TOCA breakfast, sponsored by Bayer, features something for everyone. Literally! We’re offering a editor panel mini-session – find out what makes these editors tick (and ticked off!)

Panelists include:

Jill Odom, Total Landscape Care
Brian Horn, Lawn & Landscape
Seth Jones, Landscape Management
Scott Hollister, Golf Course Management

Moderated by Jason DeSarle, vice president of membership and marketing of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), attendees will learn about upcoming trends in the industry, pet peeves and have plenty of time for Q&A.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL!!! Each new attendee receives a $5 Starbucks gift card. All attendees are eligible to win a free TOCA Annual Meeting registration – a $375 value!

JOIN US! 

Friday, October 19
Bayer Press Conference at 7:30 a.m. (Media Only)
TOCA/Bayer Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. (All guests welcome)
Room C112, Kentucky Expo Center

RSVP to Kristy Mach at kristymach@gandgcomm.com or call 952-758-6340.

 

TOCA Members Making Moves

North Coast Media Expands Landscape Management Content Staff

North Coast Media (NCM) is making significant content investments in its Landscape Management (LM) brand, including several staff additions and promotions.

Jason DeSarle Joins NALP as VP of Membership and Marketing

The National Association of Landscape Professionals has announced that Jason DeSarle joins the association as its Vice President of Membership and Marketing beginning August 20.

DeSarle was formerly the Group Publisher of Grandview Media’s Green Group overseeing Turf, Turf Design Build, Superintendent, Sports Field Management, Snow Business and LawnSite.com. He was also a former publisher at North Coast Media.

Nicole Wisniewski named Director of Content for NALP

Nicole Wisknieski, former editor of Turf Magazine, has recently been named Director of Content for the National Association of Landscape Professionals. Congratulations, Nicole!

Fall Running Tips

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Fall is here and what can make a beautifully colored-leaf day even better?  How about a jog/run or walk?  Early morning fall running can be a wonderful experience.  Get out there and enjoy the day.

Here are some fall running tips shared with me from Hall of Fame cross country coach Gerry Smith:

*  If you have been running all summer (or strenuously walking) it’s probably time to check your shoes.  The tread may be worn or you might just want to “do it” with a new pair of shoes.

*  Get your fall wardrobe ready by some “fun” shopping.  A light long sleeve top is always a nice touch.  And how about a bright orange set of shorts?

*  You still need to hydrate, even though it is cooler.  And find some friends to run/jog/walk with who like to push a faster pace.  As you grow in your own healthy experience, it will do wonders for your own confidence.

*  Dress in reflective gear, and possibly use a flashlight.  And because the weather is so unpredictable for most parts of the United States, as fall wears on keep an eye on the weather.  Rain and/or strong winds can make for a tough run.  Watch for puddles and even some slippery conditions.

*  Enjoy nature.  Sometimes get off the roads and head into the forest or truly cross country.

Feel free to contact me – Dan Gardner at twin1gard@aol.com – your TOCA running editor.  I have a multitude of ideas and my advice is free.  Because I am semi-retired, I have plenty of time to help you with your physical fitness – except when I’m running.

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!

Photo credit: Minneapolis Running 

Gardner Award for Design – Marketing Communications

Foliar Pak 2018 Product Catalog

Gardner Award Winner for Design – Marketing Communications
Printed Collateral – Overall Collateral Design

By Scott Covelli (on behalf of the TOCA professional development committee)

We asked Dawn Ribgy, Managing Director, Xylem Marketing, the following questions about Foliar Pak 2018. (Other members of her team were Justin Thiry, Britney Riggs, Courtney Mullen, Victoria Carter, Jess Simpson, and Storm Timberlake)

Please briefly describe your winning project.

Xylem Marketing developed a 56-page printed catalog to showcase the newly rebranded Foliar-Pak product line. Foliar-Pak nutrient products are sold through an exclusive network of private distributors to golf course superintendents, groundskeepers, turf managers, and lawn and landscape applicators. Foliar-Pak’s 2018 product catalog has become a powerful sales tool for distributor sales representatives and a trusted resource for customers.

Our team handled every aspect of the project, from concept, design, and layout to customer interviews, photography, and technical writing.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

Xylem Marketing was tasked to create a catalog that promoted each product in the Foliar-Pak line while highlighting the new products and updated formulations. The company had recently reformulated several products and consolidated two branded product lines into one. This catalog was an opportunity to tell that story, while uniting the product users to rally behind one brand.

What influenced your approach?

Foliar-Pak customers truly inspired this project. With so many new products and updated formulations in the Foliar-Pak product line, we wanted to include feedback from real customers that had used the products. However, it was their willingness to contribute to the project that made this catalog so successful.

Collaborating with Foliar-Pak’s customers, we were able to conduct product trials, photograph the results, and sit down for in-depth interviews with 12 different product users. This content was essential to the catalog design, and we were also able to reuse it in campaigns across other marketing channels, including social media and the Foliar-Pak website.

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

It’s the little extras—like the spot UV printing effects on the cover and perfect binding—that make this piece stand out as printed marketing collateral. Each part is intentional. The catalog cover features a large droplet, originally incorporated in the standard logo, to signify the liquid nature of the products. Amino acid structures are incorporated into the design using spot UV coating to illustrate the science behind the new product formulas.

Throughout the catalog, testimonial pages display original photography and quotes from our customer interviews next to the corresponding product pages. The completed project became more than a product catalog; it is a compilation of stories told by the product users.

Gardner Award for New Media – Publishing, Blogs

“LM Blog”
Gardner Award Winner for New Media – Publishing, Blogs
LM Contributors + Staff, North Coast Media

by Jill Odom

We asked Marissa Palmieri, editor, Landscape Management, the following questions about the LM Blog:

Please briefly describe your winning project.

The LM Blog features a rotating set of weekly contributors. It’s designed to share information readers seek in a less formal way than typical news and feature stories. In 2017, LM‘s handpicked bloggers covered the following topics:

  • Government Affairs – Up-to-date government and regulatory information from consultant and former state association executive Gregg Robertson.
  • High Performance – Posts on strategy, leadership and other points of interest from former contractor and consultant Phil Harwood.
  • Profit Power – Consultant, peer group facilitator and former contractor Jeffrey Scott shares sales, marketing and management information.
  • Leading – Bill Dellecker, a longtime landscape company leader, shares leadership lessons he’s learned along the way.

In addition to being featured on the LM website and in the weekly LM Direct e-newsletter, blog posts are posted on social media where readers often comment on and share them.

In 2017, several posts garnered notable interest, including a Government Affairs blog post about the labor shortage, which received several comments and a letter to the editor that we ran in our print publication.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

The LM Blog goes back before my time as editor (2012). It used to be published as a standalone Blogspot blog, but we moved it into our WordPress framework when we got a new website in 2013. The “old” LM Blog covered news of the weird and feel-good stories about landscape contractors. It has evolved over the past five years as just another way to deliver the information our readers seek—albeit in a more conversational format than a news item.

What influenced your approach?

Several factors have influenced our approach: reader feedback about the type of content they’re looking for, web metrics showing us what does well and our contributors’ opinions about what’s important, based on what they’re hearing in the market.

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

I’m fairly convinced the judges were impressed with not only our content’s quality but its consistency. Many B2B publishing sites have blogs, but they are not always updated regularly. The LM staff committed to posting at least weekly on the LM Blog several years ago, and we lined up our contributors, just like we would do for a print column or department. The result is a well-executed section of our website that readers appreciate.