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.

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