TOCA Talk – Spring 2012


By McGavock H. Edwards APR?, Account Director?, IMRE
President, TOCA Board of Directors

A British statesman in the 1800s, Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Change is inevitable. Change is constant.” Today, his declaration is still true. We see it in our daily lives, we’re living it in the turf industry, and we certainly are seeing it in the communication environment. What you do in the midst of change is what’s most important.

With the growth of social media, its acceptance within the B2B environment, and the possibilities it brings for marketing, publishing and public relations, our work is changing dramatically. While it’s easy to fight the changes in communications (as well as the many other changes surrounding our industry), it’s those who embrace it who will succeed.

At TOCA, we’re changing too. We’ve updated – and will continue to revise – the annual communication contest to better meet the needs of our industry. We broadened categories, and more appropriately aligned our contest with our members’ activities. We’re working to provide more professional guidance to our members, and to expand the industry’s knowledge of the value our members bring to its success. And, we want you to be a part of that.

So, get involved. Embrace the changes surrounding us and learn how to be the best communicator you can be. This year’s annual meeting is a great way to do that. Its theme, “Hitting the Right Notes,” is about finding a successful way forward. We hope you’ll join us in Nashville to learn how to leverage our new communication environment for the betterment of your organization and the industry as a whole.

And, help us celebrate this incredible industry. We hope you’ll take the time to enter your great work in the Annual TOCA Communications Contest so we can celebrate together.

It’s a great time to be a professional communicator. And our industry needs our expertise now more than ever. Embrace the change and let’s create success together.


“Hit the Right Notes in Nashville!”

TOCA Has Lots in Common with Jimmy Buffett
By Den Gardner, ?Executive Director

Well, it may be a slight stretch, but did you know TOCA has something in common with Jimmy Buffett. The popular hit maker (“Margaritaville,” “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” and “Come Monday”) started his career in Nashville as a newspaper reporter for Billboard magazine. And his biggest hit of his career was with Nashville’s own country hit maker Alan Jackson – “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

So, TOCA is going to Nashville May 1-4, we’re communicators (some editors, some former reporters), we like Margaritas and cheeseburgers. And it’s always “Five O’Clock Somewhere” at a TOCA meeting. Need any more connections. That alone should get our TOCA members down to the great music city of Nashville this year.

In earlier writings, I mused that my dream come true would be Jared Bodnar playing his guitar and the rest of us singing that famous line from the Lovin’ Spoonful’s great song “Nashville Cats.” Remember: “Well, there’s third hundred and fifty two guitar pickers in Nashville.”

And after our awards dinner Thursday night, capping off the evening with “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” seems like the perfect way to conclude another great meeting.

So, it’s time to get in tune, attend our 23rd annual meeting and “Hit the Right Notes in Nashville!” TOCA is excited to be headed for one of the country’s most famous cities. The TOCA meeting for 2012 finds us at the downtown Hilton Hotel with a room rate of $175. And there are plenty of direct flights to Nashville.

The meeting this year will continue with our format from the past two years – with a theme surrounding a Green Industry issue and professional development. See tentative agenda at the end of this article.

“Taking Care of Business Tuesday” will return for those interested in setting up meetings with colleagues during the afternoon. All our members will then look forward to the volunteer tour Wednesday morning or the annual TOCA golf tournament.

People will be able to go home at their leisure Friday or stay the weekend (for the group rate price that TOCA has negotiated).

Yes, we are excited about Nashville in just a couple months! We hope you can join us. More information about the meeting, go to our web site at

Tuesday, May 1?

All Day – Taking Care of Business (Ad Hoc Business Meetings by TOCA members at leisure)

2:00 p.m. – Board Meeting

6:00 p.m. – Board dinner and media only event

Wednesday, May 2

7:30 a.m. – Golf at Gaylord Springs Golf Links

8:15 a.m. – Optional Tour – Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art

Lunch at noon. Back to Hilton

1:30 p.m.?2:00 p.m. – TOCA Meeting Registration Opens

2:30 p.m. – Welcome: McGavock Edwards, President; Den Gardner, Exec. Director

3:00 p.m. – Environmental Communicator of the Year Award

3:15 p.m. – Green Industry End-User Panel Part I – Representatives from landscape management/lawn care, nurseries, irrigation and golf will discuss the industry, succeeding and thriving in this economy

4:15 p.m. – Break ?4:45 p.m. – End-User Panel, Part II

6:00 p.m. – Adjourn?7:00 p.m. – Opening Night Reception/Dinner

Thursday, May 3

?8:00 a.m. – Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – Communications Workshop – Part I “Online Writing and Communications” by Ann Wylie, Wylie Communications. A continuation from 2011.

10:30 a.m. – Break

11: a.m. – Communications Workshop – Part II “Online Writing and Communications” by Ann Wylie

12:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:15 p.m. – Time Management in Today’s Electronic Communications Environment – Nicholas Holland, VP, CentreSource Interactive Agency, Nashville.

2:45 p.m. – Break

3:00 p.m. – Video Workshop – How to Use/Incorporate Video for News/PR, etc. EPIC Creative

4:15 p.m. – Break

4:30 p.m. – Remarks by Board President McGavock Edwards

4:35 p.m. – Business Meeting – Election of board, scholarship winners announced, other appropriate business

5:30 p.m. – Adjourn

6:30 p.m. – Syngenta Reception

7:30 p.m. – Syngenta Awards Banquet Coordinated by: Two Rivers Marketing and IMRE Communications

9:30 p.m. – Concludes Awards Presentations

10:00 p.m. – Songfest

Friday, May 4

?Informal breakfast on own – head for home at leisure.

GIS Reception

TOCA Breakfast Draws 50 Members and Guests

The annual TOCA breakfast at the GIS show in Las Vegas this year drew about 50 attendees. TOCA thanks PBI/Gordon, GCSAA and Gardner & Gardner Communications for sponsoring the annual breakfast, which has been a staple at GIS for nearly 20 years. Members were given an update on TOCA activities and Mark LaFleur of Trone gave a brief presentation on use of social media by golf course superintendents..

GIS Reception Photos – Click here


TOCA International Contest

TOCA will again conduct a program for international entrants in the 2012 TOCA Communications Contest. E-mails were sent in early January to international corporate folks and international turf publications to encourage participation. Interested parties will be directed to the TOCA Web site for more information. Entries must be in English and will compete only with other international entries, not in the general U.S. TOCA contest.

Last year’s First Place winners included Brett Robinson, Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (Photography), Jo Corne, Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (Design Two), Alan Mahon, Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland and Michael Loughran, Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (Design Three-Best Design Publication), Jo Corne, Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (Design Three-Best Design, Brochure), Bret Robinson, Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (Writing One & Two).

Entry fees will once again be waived for the 2012 contest, which is sponsored by Syngenta International Professional Products.


Find more time
By Chuck Bowen

In January, the TOCA Professional Development Committee held a webinar, “Time Management for Creative Types,” to outline a few strategies to help editors, PR reps and anyone else dealing with too much email and not enough time.

Presenter Mike Prokopeak is vice president and editorial director at Human Capital Media, where he’s in charge of editorial content for Certification, Chief Learning Officer, Diversity Executive and Talent Management magazines.

Here are Prokopeak’s tips on how to be more productive in an ever-more-demanding work life.

1.      Identify your time killers – email, for example – areas where you waste time/attention. Try to focus on these tasks or activities only during specific times, so your entire morning doesn’t get eaten up by email processing or research.

2.      Consider software to help manage your workflow. Prokopeak recommends these, but anything you find useful and easy to use is a good place to start

  • Basecamp – this shared tool makes project management among teams easier, especially if you’re spread out across the country
  • Google Docs – the Google suite allows for easy sharing and editing of schedules and research planning documents
  • Evernote – a great tool for quickly compiling and searching digital copies of ideas, stories and other online ephemera using hashtags

3.      When working on a project or even just sending an email, ask two questions: “Do I care?” and “Do the readers/recipients care?” If the answer is no, don’t send it. This cuts down on static and useless chatter.

4.      Do a weekly review of your to-do list. This becomes your weekly report to your boss, and allows to you stay focused on the most important tasks at hand.




Editor’s Note: This webinar resulted from strategies proposed by the Professional Development Committee, an initiative of the TOCA Long-Term Strategic Plan. Chuck Bowen is chair of the Professional Development Committee.


Calendar of Events | 2012

March 15, 2012?                        TOCA Communications Contest entries deadline

May 1-3, 2012?                          23rd Annual Meeting, ?Downtown Hilton Hotel?, Nashville, TN

October 25-27, 2012?              Green Industry & Equipment EXPO, Louisville, KY

October 26, 2012?                    TOCA Breakfast, ?Kentucky Exposition Center, Room TBD, ?Louisville, KY



Member News

TOCA welcomes the following new members:

Kathleen Battin, Melamed Riley
Jeff Beamon, BBDO Atlanta
Jim Becker, EPIC Creative
Chris Bremen, Bayer Environmental Science
Patty Dimucci, Bayer Environmental Science
Camille Gipson, Bayer Environmental Science
Valerie Henshaw, Bayer Environmental Science
Amanda Kleinhenz, IMRE
Sam Larson, Swanson Russell
Scott Lynn, Woodruff Sweitzer
Howard Richman, GCSAA
Bill Roddy, Melamed Riley
Kyle Ruebling, IMRE
Katie Sands, Swanson Russell
Erica Schmidt, BBDO Atlanta
Jessica Simpson, Swanson Russell
Cheryl Steelberg, Wilson-Oyler Group
Christopher Thiede, IMRE




A clarification is necessary regarding an article in the winter issue of TOCA Talk. It referred to a scholarship program available from GIE Media and Lawn & Landscape magazine. The article was provided by the company and was used in our newsletter verbatim as it was provided to us. Wording in the article referred to GIE Media as “the leading media company serving the lawn and landscape, golf course, nursery, greenhouse and garden center markets.” This sentence in the article was the written opinion of GIE Media. We apologize for any confusion.