TOCA Talk – Fall 2016


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

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

 Where “Members Matter Most”

By Scott HollisterGCSAA 2014 Board and Staff Photos
TOCA Board Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in Tampa in 2017!

Barb Ulschmid Departing G&G After 9+ Years

By G&G Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Fond Farewell

By Barb Ulschmid

To my TOCA family,Barb_Oct12

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

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

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

Take Care!

Panel Discussion Focuses on Editor/PR Relationships

By Sara Bojar, Bader Rutter

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

Here are the some of the highlights we discussed:

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

Techniques for Excellent Writing

By Jennifer Klemmetson
Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply

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

Five Elements of Effective Writing

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

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

Proofreading Checklist

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

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

The 3-Step Message

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

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

Practice and Set Goals

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

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

Telling Your Story Through Infographics 

By Dawn Rigby, Advanced Turf Solutions

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

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

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

Nate McKinniss of Ohio State University interned with TurfNet  

By Nate McKinniss

TOCA 2016 Intern

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




What the BugDoc Said about Biodiversity

By Britney Riggs, Advanced Turf Solutions

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

Dr David Shetlar ECotY Cindy Code Project Evergreen (3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

A Place to Breathe

By Debbie Clayton, Clayton Communications

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

Please briefly describe your winning project.

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

What were your main objectives in developing this project?

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

What influenced your approach?

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

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

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

Zoysia as a Game Changer Tour

By Jill Odom, Total Landscape Care

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

 Please briefly describe your winning project.

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

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

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

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

What influenced your approach?

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

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

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

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



TOCA Reviewing Host Media Company Rules for 2017                                             

By Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOCA Seeks New Applications for Hall of Fame

By Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Staff

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

Larry Aylward PHWotY Jose Milan Bayer

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

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

Previous winners have been:

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

2014 – Karl Danneberger, North Coast Media (Golfdom)

2015 – Howard Richman, Golf Course Management (GCSAA)

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

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

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

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

Applications Open for TOCA College Scholarship

By Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOCA Membership Renewal for 2017

By TOCA Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

For Whom: TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Friday, October 21, 2016

Where:  Kentucky Exposition Center, Room C112

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

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

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

Fall 2016 Running Column                                            

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Calendar of Events 

Fall Photo

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

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

October 21, 2016
TOCA Breakfast Reception:

7:15 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. – Breakfast

7:45 a.m. – 8 a.m. – TOCA Update

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

Kentucky Exposition Center, Room: C112
Louisville, KY

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

December 31, 2016
TOCA Internship Host application deadline

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

February 4-9, 2017
Golf Industry Show

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

February 28, 2017
TOCA Internship Student application deadline

March 1, 2017
Application Deadlines for:

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

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

Welcome New Members!

Brian Bellmont, Bellmont Partners

Jeremy Bigler, Lebanon Turf

Mary Claire Carter, Global Prairie

Allison Ruth Fortner, Super-Sod

Eddie Gordon, Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Aupply

Shelli Lissick, Bellmont Partners

Mike Lytle, Lebanon Turf

Pat Morrow, Bayer

Jill Odom, Randall Reilly

Glenn Rougier, Bayer Environmental Science

Joel Sandock, Lebanon Turf