Charlotte is TOCA’s  Fourth Foray to the Carolinas as Plans Continue for 30th Annual Meeting in 2019

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

I’ve seen James Taylor perform live twice, once just a couple months ago with Bonnie Raitt. Wow is all I can say. With TOCA set to visit Charlotte in May 2019 for its 30th annual meeting (whodathunkit?), our fourth trip to the Carolinas reminds me of the words to one of Taylor’s greatest hits – “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.

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”), came back to Asheville, N.C. in 2011, with a trip in between in 2003 in Charleston, SC.

So mark your calendars for April 30 through May 2 at the new Embassy Suites Uptown Charlotte. 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.

While the TOCA meeting concludes on May 2, that’s the start of the Wells Fargo  Championship pro golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. Keep that in mind as you make your plans for Charlotte next May.

We are thrilled that G&S Business Communications (led by TOCA member Lyndsey Newnam), based in Raleigh, has stepped up to handle the theme for 2019 and the awards program. Also on the program committee is Mark LaFleur of Syngenta (Greensboro) and Pat Morrow in Raleigh and a handful of TOCA board members. If you are interested in being on the program committee, please let TOCA staff know and we’ll be sure to include you in our list.

A meeting of the program committee will be held in Louisville for those TOCA members at the GIE+EXPO show Oct. 17-19.

TOCA has settled into a familiar and likable format the past several years. It will likely keep that format in Charlotte. That means:

  • Board meeting Tuesday, April 30, with an evening informal gathering of all TOCA members and the “newbie/first timers” dinner that evening.
  • Wednesday morning will continue to be recognizing our Environmental Communicator of the Year (sponsored by Project EverGreen), recognizing our intern and a workshop or two to round out the morning.
  • Wednesday afternoon will feature our annual tour of the community with a green industry slant. This is also the afternoon of the annual TOCA golf outing.
  • Our opening night reception Wednesday evening promises to highlight all that TOCA and Charlotte has to offer its attendees.
  • Thursday is, of course, a full day of our keynote speaker, workshops/seminars, the important business meeting and the 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 increased to $5,000. The foundation is used to fund our youth programs – such as our scholarships and intern program.

TOCA members also will be updated on the new strategic plan. You will see a survey in a few weeks from our Strategic Plan Committee and encourage you to take the time to answer our questions as TOCA enters its fourth decade.

The 2019 agenda will be updated for TOCA attendees at the Oct. 19 breakfast at GIE+EXPO. Watch the TOCA website:, for more information in the meantime.

See you in Charlottee in 2019!