TOCA Talk – Summer 2019

This edition of TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by Advanced Turf Solutions, an independent and employee-owned green industry distributor. Thank you, members of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association, for supporting this industry through your information, education, and outreach.


The President’s Corner
By Russell Warner, TOCA Board President

Writing My First Column and What TOCA Means to Me

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. Read Russell’s entire first column and learn more about him.


Only the Beginning…
By Den Gardner, Executive Director

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. Read more about Den’s retirement and his new adventures here.


TOCA Strategic Plan Committee Provides Update
By Kristy Mach

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.


TOCA Announces Communications Award Winners
By Kristy Mach

TOCA 2019 Winners

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. See list of winners here.


TOCA Hall of Fame Inducts Bill Klutho
By JoDee Sattler

Bill Kutho, manager, strategic public relations at John Deere, has a new lucky number – “13.” He became the 13th TOCA Hall of Fame inductee, an honor bestowed upon him at the 2019 TOCA Annual Meeting.

Klutho’s professional journey went from radio announcer to job developer (for people that had been in trouble with the law) to play-by-play sports announcer to John Deere Health Care communications generalist to manager, public relations with John Deere’s turf unit.

The TOCA Hall of Fame is designed to recognize the cumulative accomplishments of deserving communicators who have made outstanding contributions to the turf and ornamental industry. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to promote TOCA’s most outstanding past and present members, amplify and enhance its ideals, advance the professional standards that TOCA champions, as well as to preserve the historic achievements that TOCA members have accomplished.

Learn more about Klutho’s green industry career path, teammates and TOCA involvement by reading the comments he shared at the TOCA Annual Meeting.


Hollister Receives Volunteer Award
By JoDee Sattler

This year’s volunteer of the year was Scott Hollister, past president and active participant in TOCA’s efforts to get its international chapter off the ground. In addition, through a couple departures of board members (including the president and vice president because of career changes), Hollister stepped in and resumed the presidency of TOCA. Many thanks go to Scott Hollister for his tireless efforts to promote TOCA domestically and abroad. He can now “relax” as past president of TOCA. NOT! Click here to learn more about Hollister.


TOCA Honors Goldenberg as Environmental Communicator of the Year
By JoDee Sattler

Norman Goldenberg, retired green industry executive from Terminix, received the 2019 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award. He is the organization’s 21st recipient. The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, recognizes individuals for outstanding communications efforts regarding green space and environmental issues. Click here to read more about Goldenberg.


The Passing of Linda Daniels

After a long illness, Linda (Laylah) Daniels (VanBibber), a retired PBI-Gordon family member, passed away April 7, 2019. Laylah worked at PBI for 25 years and retired in May 2011 as the director of marketing. She was a mentor to many employees and helped successfully launch many new products during her career at PBI. Click here to read her obituary.


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. Click here for Dan’s running tips.


My TOCA Experience, from Across the Pond
By Ellie Parry, Forte Marketing & Public Relations

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. Learn more about Ellie’s experience and what she enjoyed most.


Tips and Tricks from TOCA Meeting 2019


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. Learn about the best practices here.


Turning Analytics into Action
By Dawn Rigby, Xylem Marketing

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. Discover new advances in analytics here.


Ten Takeaways on Interviewing Skills
By Debbie Clayton

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 and with these ten great tips.


Digging Deeper into Digital Tools
By Scott Covelli, EPIC Creative

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. Learn about all the tools LaForme shared.


Branded Content and Native Advertising
By Jill Odom

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.

Learn more from 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, on branded content and native advertising.