TOCA Talk – Winter 2018

Winter 2018 TOCA Talk

TOCA Talk is proudly sponsored by EnP. EnP has been Engineering Optimal Plant Health™ for nearly 30 years, manufacturing specialty fertilizers under two brands: Foliar-Pak, and Age Old Nutrients. Because EnP professionals believe that collaboration and the exchange of ideas are essential for innovation, they are proud to support the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA).

 TOCA President Lacy Ravencraft Offers New Year’s Tips

Lacy Ravencraft, TOCA Board President

As we start the New Year, it’s easy to get fully consumed by the flurry of daily activity right out of the gate. And if you’re like me, your 2018 calendar is already filling up with commitments of all types – so here’s a tip.

We are racing toward our 2018 Annual Meeting May 1-3 in Cincinnati, Ohio. We have some exciting content planned, so be sure to register for Cincinnati and lock in the dates. You won’t want to miss it! 


The Queen City Set to Provide the Royal Treatment
to TOCA Members in 2018

By Den Gardner, Executive Director

The upcoming TOCA Annual Meeting in Cincinnati is just five months away, and promises the “royal treatment” for TOCA members. Mark May 1-3 on your calendar, and plan to join us at the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. The program is coming together nicely, with a keynote presentation from the self-proclaimed “Executive Director of Awesome” Ren LaForme of the Poynter Institute, sharing the best digital tools for journalists.

Other programs will be equally riveting. From content marketing, to peer roundtables, to tours and of course, optional golf and running, you will have a wonderful time in Cincinnati. Learn more about the stimulating (and fun) professional development and camaraderie awaiting 2018 Cincinnati meeting attendees.


Global Prairie Bridges the Gap, Builds Connections with TOCA for Next Two Years

With the New Year here, we couldn’t be more excited to debut the official logo for our 2018 Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio,  to be held at the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, May 1-3.

Learn more about the strategy behind the logo, and integration of the elements within.


Y’all are Invited to Breakfast on the Riverwalk
– at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Antonio, Texas.



Please help us prepare for the right number of attendees, by responding to the recent Evite. If you have not seen the Evite, let us know and we’ll re-send!


Member News

‘Tis the Season for TOCA Membership Renewal!

By Kyle Wieskus, TOCA Membership Director

Since membership renewal notifications went out in November, certainly you have probably already renewed for 2018. But in case you are on that list of folks who have not yet made time, well … it is THAT TIME.

Want to save on memberships in 2018? Learn more about how two TOCA memberships from one company, allows the third (if 35 years of age or younger), to join TOCA for free.

Learn more! And “thank you” – for being a member and supporting TOCA in 2017. We look forward to continued membership growth in 2018, because TOCA is bringing value:

  • professional development,
  • camaraderie/networking with industry peers, and
  • recognition for your outstanding communications work.


2017 TOCA Fireside Chat was a Success!

The 2017 TOCA Fireside Chat took place at the Irrigation Show in Orlando, Florida. This year’s event featured a panel of talented TOCA members who came prepared to share their thoughts on the current biggest trend in communications today: content marketing.

Bethany Chambers of North Coast Media, Jason Schmaderer of Swanson Russell and Tessa Riess of Hunter Industries provided the audience with tips, tricks and general thoughts on content marketing. Their discussion was nothing short of remarkable.

Attendance was up from last year, with nearly 30 people attending the event. We were pleased to have three members of the Irrigation Association in attendance, including the 2017 Irrigation Association President, Warren Gorowitz.

We are excited for future TOCA Fireside Chat events and hope to continue to increase awareness of TOCA and its mission. The panel featured above will be replicating their presentation at the 2018 TOCA Annual meeting in Cincinnati.

We hope to see you there!


Professional Development

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

Jill Odom

Designers Embrace Bountiful Challenges of Rooftop Gardens
Gardner Award Winner for Writing — Publishing

by Dawn Rigby

We asked Jill Odom, Total Landscape Care, Randall Reilly Publishing questions about her winning entry in the July 2016 issue of Total Landscape Care magazine.




Now for Something a Little Different…
Gardner Award Winner for International Writing

Karl Hansell

by Jill Odom

We asked Karl Hansell*, Greenkeeper International, BIGGA, Ltd. about his winning entry.





Root Strength
Gardner Award Winner for Design — Publishing

Justin Armburger

by Jill Odom

We asked Justin Armburger, Lawn & Landscape, GIE Media, the following questions about his winning entry.





Prepare to Enter the 2018 TOCA Communications Contest

Be sure to begin gathering your best work from 2017 into a folder for easy access when it is time to enter the 2018 TOCA Communications Contest.

Deadline for Entries is March 16. The contest is open to all current TOCA members. Entries must be articles published, or collateral/ads/brochures, etc. produced and printed, between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2017.

See the Contest Entry Instructions for more information.


TOCA Foundation News

Hosts Chosen for 2018 Interns

Thank you, to those who chose to apply to host the 2018 Interns, for the two internships offered as part of the TOCA Summer Internship Program. Two companies have been selected to host the young professionals.

  • TOCA Marketing Communications Internship will be hosted by Cindy Code, Project EverGreen. (Internship, in its first year, is sponsored through the TOCA Foundation, funded by Den and Sandy Gardner of Gardner & Gardner Communications and Dave Hansen, Partner/CEO of Swanson Russell.)
  • TOCA Media Internship again will be hosted by Jon Kiger, TurfNet. (Internship, now in its sixth year, is sponsored through the TOCA Foundation and is funded by Bayer.)

Congratulations to both Cindy and Jon! We know they and their organizations will benefit greatly from the intern’s contributions.

Share the Internship Availability with Your Favorite Students

Don’t forget to thumb through your mental rolodex (will the young’uns even know what that means?) … and determine if you know a university student who will be the perfect intern, interested in a career in marketing communications in the green industry. Please forward to the student the following application.

Student applications are due Tuesday, February 28.

TOCA Foundation News

Seeking Nominations for Plant Health Writer of the Year and Environmental Communicator of the Year

Know of any green industry professionals deserving of the prestigious Plant Health Writer of the Year or the Environmental Communicator of the Year awards? Nominations for those distinguished awards are due March 1. For more information, check out the web pages for each honor bestowed annually at the TOCA annual meeting.


TOCA Foundation News

Scholarship Applications Due March 1

TOCA has been awarding a scholarship to worthy students for the past 27 years. Forty students have been the beneficiaries of the TOCA Scholarship. The deadline for this year for students to apply is March 1, but it’s never too soon to identify, encourage and reward deserving students. This year TOCA will provide up to two scholarships.


TOCA Running Club                                                                   

Winter Running – Be Safe

By Dan Gardner, TOCA Special Running Correspondent

Cold weather running is certainly a challenge for those of us who live in Midwestern and northern states. Learn more about how outdoor running can be invigorating, as long as runners prepare appropriately.

Speaking of winter running, don’t forget the Syngenta-sponsored 2018 Health in Action 5K at the Golf Industry Show’s annual meeting in San Antonio – Feb. 8, at 6 a.m.


Upcoming Events

Check out the upcoming Calendar of Events