TOCATalk – Fall 2012

The challenge is set: Let’s grow together!

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

If I had to pick a theme for recent days, it’s growth. At home, we’re dealing with 9-year-old growing pains, and a workday doesn’t go by without discussions around market share growth, ambitious growth plans, and the professional growth of our team members. Even TOCA is focused on growth (see post script)!

Personally, I’ve been quite introspective over the past few months about my own growth (maybe because I’m in my 39th year…yikes). I realized I’d stopped growing – or at least stopped focusing on growing. And, that, my friends, was a revelation. Why have I made my own growth somewhere around 25th on the priority list?

Life gets busy and sometimes the status quo is the easy route. But, growth can be scary. Sometimes with it comes pain, uncertainty, and stress. Then, I found this quote by our former President, Ronald Reagan

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination and wonder.

Challenge #1: Set a new personal growth goal.

I’d forgotten to dream, to think beyond current circumstances, to challenge myself. I’d forgotten the joy and fulfillment of growth…and the overwhelmingly rewarding results from it. I’ve recently recommitted to my own personal growth and I’m jazzed about it. What are you doing to continue your own growth ­ as a human, a family member, a professional, or a friend?

Challenge #2: Find two people (or more) who aren’t TOCA members. Tell them about TOCA, or pass their names to Dan Gardner who’s leading our drive.

TOCA’s membership drive is in full swing! We all know the value of this organization, and now it’s time to spread the word. We’re mining for members…and we know there are plenty of communicators in the Green Industry who would benefit from TOCA membership. So, help us grow by reaching out to your colleagues and acquaintances and tell them about TOCA.

Challenge #3: Bring someone new to our breakfast.

GIE + EXPO’s New Member breakfast is right around the corner ­ a great time to bring someone new into the fold. Sponsored by Bayer, the event will be Friday, October 26, at 7:00AM in Room C105 of the Kentucky Expo Center. During this meeting you’ll also get a glimpse into our new Website, thanks to Associated Advertising.

P.S. I’m not the only one growing.



Look Out Pacific Northwest — Here Comes TOCA

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

I was just told by a former colleague (with tongue slightly in cheek), now living and working in Portland, OR, site of the 2013 annual TOCA meeting May 8-10, that this is what you don’t want to be like if you want to enjoy the city next spring:
– Be from California,
– Wear a fur coat,
– Drive a Hummer,
– Love chain stores, fast food or malls, and
– Love country music.

Now, on the other hand, if you drive energy-efficient cars, think green, enjoy alternative/pop/rock music, are from 48 other states (besides Oregon or California), appreciate small coffee shops, great wine, and intimate restaurants, you’ll love the city.

And let’s not forget the roses. Portland is known as the “City of Roses” and has the world famous International Rose Test Garden. Sounds like a possible stop for the Wednesday morning tour.

Oh, and then there’s the rain. Be comforted to know that seven other months of the year have more rain than Portland. And the temperature should average near 70 degrees during the day and 50 at night. Be ready, however, to possibly tolerate rain. (A personal side note here: did a meeting a few years ago in Portland in the summer. Great weather every day!)

Portland is also the place, one person told me, where it’s okay to protest, be a hippie or liberal and want to save the world, like microbreweries and micro-brewed coffee. “It’s also okay to be a ‘save the world type,’ an atheist and/or a weird person in general.” Gee, sound like any TOCA members to you?

Although the program is still under development, Ann Wylie, who after appearing at our meeting the past two years has become almost a knighted TOCA member, will be back for year three. A survey of TOCA members believed she would be great again ­ focusing on yet another topic to make us better communicators. It also should be noted that she recently moved to Portland.

Another major part of Thursday’s program will be by nationally-known speaker Rita Emmett, who will help all you 24/7 folks how to prevent procrastination and be a better organized person.

Emmett, a “Recovering Procrastinator”, is the author of the best selling book, THE PROCRASTINATOR’S HANDBOOK. In this high content/high fun interactive presentation, she will share techniques & strategies to “help you break the procrastination habit and get things done now,” she says. If you can’t find the time for this session, perhaps THIS is the session you need to attend. That was a joke.

Emmett has appeared on The Today Show and has sold her book in more than 42 countries.

But really folks…TOCA is excited to be headed for one of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest — third only to Seattle and Vancouver in neighboring Washington. The TOCA meeting for 2013 finds us downtown at the Embassy Suites Hotel with a room rate of $158. And there are plenty of direct flights to Portland from across the country.

The meeting this year will continue with our format from the past three years — with a theme surrounding a Green Industry issue and professional development. At this time the program is in the early developmental stages, so there is little to report about the agenda. We should have some concrete details by mid-October.

“Taking Care of Business Tuesday” will return for those interested in setting up meetings with colleagues during the afternoon. That’s when the TOCA board meets. Like last year, I don’t think Bachman-Turner Overdrive will be present, but feel free to set up whatever meetings are appropriate for your company or organization. Otherwise, we’ll see you Tuesday night and get ready for the volunteer tour Wednesday morning or the annual TOCA golf tournament.

Otherwise, the program will be similar to Nashville in terms of format. There will be no additional tour and more professional development Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday. The business meeting will be Thursday afternoon and the meeting will conclude with the annual awards banquet in the evening.

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 Portland in 2012! We hope you can join us. More information about the meeting (including the agenda regarding professional development) will be available at the TOCA GIE+Expo Breakfast, sponsored by Bayer, on Friday morning, Oct. 26, 7 a.m., at the convention center in C105.

Let’s see you in Portland!



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

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is 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 26, 2012

Where: Kentucky Exposition Center, Room C105

Time: 7:00 – 7:45 a.m. — Breakfast; 8:00 – 8:45 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, contact Den Gardner or Barb Ulschmid at 952-758-6340 or email to Thank you ­ see you in Louisville!


New TOCA Web Site Ready by Jan. 1

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

Thanks to the pro bono work of Associated Advertising Agency of Wichita, TOCA members will see a new web site by Jan. 1, 2013. The agency has several TOCA members, with the new effort being led by TOCA board member Brian Schoenthaler.

The web side has not been revised for more than a decade. The new web site will include such changes as:
– Giving home page a facelift and modernizing various links to other sections of the web site.
– Redesigning of membership, contest and annual meeting forms as appropriate for easier functionality.
– Converting to a Word press format.
– Easier member access to the directory and quarterly newsletter.
– Adding a privacy policy page.

It is expected that a beta version of the new web site will be shown at the TOCA new member breakfast Oct. 26 in Louisville.

The TOCA board thanks Associated Advertising and Brian Schoenthaler in this web site upgrade.



(Editor’s Note: The following is a recent column by former TOCA annual meeting presenter Bo Sacks. The article reports on the relationship between social media and enhanced magazine readership.)

“Heard on the Web” Media Intelligence

Courtesy of BoSacks and The Precision Media Group

America’s Oldest e-newsletter est.1993


The conscience of the world is so guilty that it always assumes that people who investigate heresies must be heretics; just as if a doctor who studies leprosy must be a leper. Indeed, it is only recently that science has been allowed to study anything without reproach.

Aleister Crowley


MPA Study: Social Media Enhances Magazine Consumption, Engagement for Millennials

About 56 of respondents say they follow a magazine on Twitter.


In a new study produced by the MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, and research firm GfK MRI, data reveals that Millennial magazine media readers aged 18 to 34 believe that technology has improved their experience of accessing various media-including magazines.

While the study shows that social media can act as an enhancement to accessing or interacting magazine content, only 40 percent of the 1,019 respondents have self identified as “avid magazine readers,” with 95 percent of that group reading printed titles and 43 percent reading digital editions.

About 91 percent of all of the respondents use Facebook, followed closely by YouTube at 61 percent. Twitter ranked as the third most used form of social media at 40 percent, followed by Google+ at 33 percent. About 90 percent of those identified as avid magazine readers use Facebook.

About 62 percent of all respondents feel they can learn more about a topic or story by accessing more media, with 79 percent of avid magazine readers holding that belief.

Fifty percent of all respondents consider themselves “media multi-tasker(s),” but just 38 percent of all respondents considering themselves an avid magazine reader, with 33 percent of respondents viewing magazines as a highly credible source of information.

“The results of MPA’s new study clearly demonstrate that social media enriches the magazine reading experience, and that magazine media readers-on all platforms-are creating communities around and engaging with the magazines and editors they know and love,” Chris Kevorkian, MPA’s chief marketing and digital officer, says in a news release.

When it comes to platforms, the majority of all respondents own some sort of digital device that enables reading. About 69 percent own a smartphone, with the highest percentages owning an Apple iPhone (32 percent) or an Android phone (30 percent). Of the total respondents, 41 percent own a tablet device and 27 percent own an e-reader. The most popular tablets were an iPad (26 percent) and an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet (10 percent). About 19 percent owned an Amazon Kindle e-reader, followed by a Barnes & Noble Nook at 5 percent.

About half of all respondents (52 percent) say they use the Internet and any other resource to engage with brands that really interested them, or they view as important. Using social media to enhance a different media experience is a common practice among Millennials, with 39 percent of respondents claiming they do so.

It seems that magazine interaction through social media is a common practice among Millennials. About 56 of respondents say they follow a magazine on Twitter, and the same percentage say they follow a magazine on Pinterest, or re-pin content from a magazine. About 52 percent of total respondents have liked a magazine on Facebook, and 51 percent have re-tweeted an article from a magazine’s Twitter feed. A magazine’s editorial staff does also have some influence with Millennials, with 49 percent of all respondents saying they follow a magazine editor or columnist on Twitter.

About half of respondents (49 percent) have visited a magazine’s Facebook page, though 43 percent said “No,” when asked if they have ever visited any magazine’s Facebook page or liked a magazine’s page on Facebook.

Relevant content was the number one reason a respondent would visit a magazine’s Facebook page (59 percent), followed by an offer of special contests or games (41 percent). The majority of respondents who had never visited a magazine’s Facebook page say they simply never considered doing it (69 percent) as a reason.

Only 19 percent of all respondents, and 30 percent of avid magazine readers, have searched for a magazine on Twitter. Users of newsreaders have only slight popularity among the respondents, with 28 percent saying they use them. The most popular newsreaders among respondents that did use them was Pulse (42 percent), followed by Currents (29 percent), and Editions, Livestand and Flipboard all lading at 25 percent. Those that did use such a newsreader say the biggest reason for doing so is because its fun (46 percent).



Environmental Communicator of the Year

As always at this time of year, TOCA begins its search for the next Environmental Communicator of the Year. Nominations for the 2013 winner are now being accepted. The award, sponsored by Project EverGreen, may be given to anyone in the Green Industry. It is presented each year at TOCA’s annual meeting and will be awarded for the 15th time, May 7-10, 2013 in Portland, OR.

Dr. Frank Rossi, associate professor and extension turfgrass specialist at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, has been named the 2012 TOCA Environmental Communicators of the Year; the association’s fourteenth recipient.

Download the Environmental Communicator of the Year Form here


TOCA Scholarship

Perhaps you know of some deserving student currently pursuing a career in green industry communications. A niece or nephew? The kid down the block who used to mow your lawn but now studies marketing and landscape architecture at the University of Oregon? Maybe it’s your intern, the one answering your phone as you read this very sentence. How about nominating him or her for a TOCA scholarship?

The TOCA Board of Directors will award one $2,500, fall semester scholarship (2012-2013 academic-year) to an undergraduate college student pursuing a career in green industry communications. To qualify, students must major or minor in technical communications or a green industry related field such as horticulture, plant sciences, botany, agronomy, plant pathology, etc. The applicant also must demonstrate an interest in using this course of study in the field of communications.

Kari Weis was named the 2012 TOCA Scholarship Winner.

Deadline is March 1, 2013, but it’s never too soon to identify, encourage and reward deserving students outstanding in the field. Or on the lawn.

Download the Scholarship Application Form here


TOCA Membership Renewal for 2013

It’s that time of year. TOCA will be emailing the 2013 Membership Renewal forms soon. And TOCA is embarking on a mission to increase from 170 to 250 members in the next three years. You can help us reach that goal. We will be contacting many of you directly about helping us increase our members. You will be hearing from Dan Gardner, who is leading a membership recruitment project, over the next couple months. And remember: One TOCA member is an investment of just $125. Every additional member from your company is only $75. Help us reach our goal and help TOCA grow.

If there is more than one TOCA member in your company, one person from the group will receive the email. He/she should pass a 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. You may pay dues with a CHECK made payable to the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association or ONLINE with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX) at (a new feature added last year). If you are making a credit card payment for more than one member from your company, you will have to renew each individual member. As noted earlier, dues for the first person from the company are $125. After you enter the first person, you will receive a Group Number (by email) to use on each additional renewal after the first. Dues for each additional person from the same company are $75 each. In this way your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group.

We ask that you contact the TOCA office by November 15, 2012 with any changes to your contact information from last year so we can get the corrections into the online membership directory. All membership renewals for 2013 are due by December 31, 2012.

Some of the benefits of being a TOCA member:
– A quarterly newsletter which keeps members up-to-date on association activities
– An annual professional improvement meeting
– Webinars on writing, design, photography, social media
– A writing, photography, new media and design contest which recognizes members for outstanding communications in the industry
– A chance to develop contacts with TOCA members
– The annual TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year program which provides a $500 stipend to the winner
– The opportunity to serve on various committees, including the Publishers Scholarship Committee, Annual Meeting Committee, Membership Committee and Awards Program Committee

We look forward to you renewing your membership. We also hope you will ask others in your office to join TOCA who haven’t heard of us.

Please don’t hesitate to call the TOCA office with questions about your membership.

Den Gardner, Executive Director
Kathy Heyda, Membership Director
P. O. Box 156
New Prague, MN 56071
Office: 952-758-6340
Fax: 952-758-5813

Download the TOCA Membership Application here



Calendar of Events

October 25-27, 2012
Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO)
Kentucky Exposition Center
Louisville, KY

October 26, 2012
TOCA Breakfast, 7-7:45 a.m.
Kentucky Exposition Center, C105
Louisville, KY

February 6, 2013
GIS New Member Breakfast
Hilton San Diego Bayfront
San Diego, CA

May 7-10, 2013
24th annual meeting
Embassy Suites Portland Hotel
Portland, OR


Member News

TOCA welcomes the following new members:
Sören Erickson, Padilla Speer Beardsley
Rick Grant, Control Solutions Inc.
Allison Muggli, Control Solutions Inc.