TOCATalk – Spring 2013

TOCA’s Website Gets New Look
24th Annual TOCA Meeting – “Good Things are Brewing”
Sharpen your social media
Record Turnout for GIS TOCA Breakfast
Professional Development – A Lifelong Process
TOCA Membership News
TOCA Membership Recruitment Email
The 8th Annual TOCA International Communications Awards Program
Nufarm Acquires Cleary Chemical Corporation, Expands Portfolio
Calendar of Events | 2013

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

? Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

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

It’s spring!  Well, the spring issue of TOCA Talk, that is.  I imagine most of you, like me, are ready to actually see spring arrive. Talking with members across the country recently, I’ve heard endless stories of record snow, cold weather and a desire for sun, warmth and new beginnings.

Spring brings so much promise, doesn’t it?  Like Tolstoy wrote, “…(it’s) the time of plans and projects.”  I’ve been making my lists and they are long!  For work it includes new product promotions, new customer outreach, and trying out some new technologies.  At home, it’s the usual – spring cleaning chores, a yard sale, and all the little outside projects that were neglected over the winter.  While these lists aren’t that much different than in year’s past, there’s a comfort in renewing old projects and planning months ahead. There’s an excitement building for being outside again, for the season that reminds us to take the time to smell the roses (yes, I did just write that….sometimes a cliché is what works best).

For TOCA members, spring also means a new beginning. Over the next few months, we have an opportunity to celebrate our past year’s accomplishments through the TOCA Communications Contest, meet to discuss the next chapter of our organization at the business meeting in May, and enjoy time learning together during professional development sessions.

Our time together each May is a highlight for me each year.  It’s a joy to see old friends and meet new ones. It’s a time to start fresh, with new ideas I learned from the experts who come to teach us.  It’s a chance to be reminded of the cool work that’s created, and smart people we have in this business. And, it’s a time to visit with friends who, while I only see a few times a year, I know will be in my life for a very long time.

I hope, as you’re creating your lists for spring, that you’ll include entering the TOCA communications contest, making it another record year for entries.  And, that a trip to Portland in May is a priority.  Spring is truly about promise, joy and hope. It’s a time to make plans for our lives…and to kick start the projects that’ll get us to our goals.  Let’s to it together!

I look forward to seeing you all in Portland.

TOCA’s Website Gets New Look

By Brian Schoenthaler
Vice President/Account Leader
Associated Integrated Marketing

After weeks – okay months – of work, TOCA has a new-look for its website which you can check out by logging onto Changing hosts required some unanticipated programming issues that required solving before taking the new site live, but we hope you will feel that the new site was well worth the wait.

The new look showcases TOCA and provides visitors to the site with quicker access to information and an overall positive impression of our organization. One noteworthy upgrade to the site provides members with the ability to make membership, meeting registration and contest entry payments using your credit card processed through PayPal. Just to clarify, you do not need a PayPal account in order to make your payments.

This is our site and as such we welcome your active participation in the content of the site. So how can you participate? Take a look at the home page for example. You will notice a rotation of scenery photos at the top of the page. Each of these photos was provided by one of our members. Every member is invited to contribute similar shots for this section as long as they aren’t blatantly product-oriented.

Other pages, such as those on the “About Us” and “Contests” pages, would also benefit from your photos of TOCA-related meetings and events. Examples would be contest winners, Den missing a crucial putt, and so on. Another example is the History page. This page would be much more exciting if we could include some photos to help tell the story of our 24-year-old history. Please submit your photos to Barb Ulschmid ( for consideration.

Finally, your comments to add content or functionality are always welcome. Please remember that the site you see today represents phase one of a two-phase upgrade. Phase two is intended to provide additional ecommerce and other functionality. That second phase is intended to be implemented sometime later this year or early in 2014.

See you all in Portland!


24th Annual TOCA Meeting – “Good Things are Brewing”

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

Editor’ Note: Following is a reprise (with updates) of the January 2013 TOCA Talk article on the 24th annual meeting in Portland. With cards, letters, emails and such still pouring in about it, I felt it best just to repeat portions of the winter article to get all our membership excited about the Portland, OR, meeting. So, please remember, this is what you DON’T want to be like if you want to enjoy the city of Portland in a couple months:

  • Be from California (although we’ll be proud to have you attend anyway),
  • 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, appreciate small coffee shops, great wine, and intimate restaurants, you’ll love the city. Not to mention the great camaraderie of TOCA members.

How about a reminder regarding the rain? Be comforted to know that seven other months of the year besides May that 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.

And the agenda follows. It is summarized here, but available at It is nearly complete.

Tuesday, May 7

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

2:00 p.m. – Board Meeting

7:30 p.m. – Tentative Early Bird Reception (confirmation coming soon)

Wednesday, May 8

6:30 a.m. – Depart Hotel for Golf at Stone Creek Golf Club, Oregon City, OR  (

8:15 a.m. – Depart Hotel for Pacific Landscape Management tour ( )

8:45 a.m. – Pacific Landscape Management tour

11:00 a.m. – End of tour, board bus for lunch

11:15 a.m. – Lunch at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Brewery. Back to Embassy Suites by 1:30 p.m.

2:00 p.m. – TOCA Meeting Registration Opens

2:15 p.m. – Welcome: McGavock Edwards, Board President; Den Gardner, Exec. Director

2:45 p.m. – Environmental Communicator of the Year Award (Project EverGreen)

3:00 p.m. – Plant Health Writer of the Year Award (Bayer)

3:15 p.m. – Turfgrass Breeding/Trends in Turfgrass/Pacific NW and Elsewhere – Dr. Milt Engelke, Professor Emeritus, Texas A&M University

4:15 p.m. – Break

4:45 p.m. – Panel on Oregon Green Industry Issues — Bob Grover, President, Pacific Landscape Management; and Bryan Ostlund, Administrator, Oregon Ryegrass, Tall Fescue and Fine Fescue Commission; Debbie Kneeshaw, Portland Parks and Recreation.

6:00 p.m. – Adjourn

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

Thursday, May 9

8:00 a.m. – Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – Communications Workshop – Part III  “Editors/Marketing Pros – Making Your B-B

Writing More Creative” by Ann Wylie, Wylie Communications.

10:30 a.m. – Break

11:00 a.m. – Communications Workshop – Park III  “”Editors/Marketing Pros

12:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:30 p.m. – “Preventing Procrastination to be a Better Organized Person” by Rita Emmett, Emmett Enterprises, Inc.

2:30 p.m. – Break

2:45 p.m. – “Preventing Procrastination…Person” by Rita Emmett, part two

3:45 p.m. — Remarks by Board President McGavock Edwards

4:00 p.m. – Business Meeting

  • Election of board, scholarship winners announced, other appropriate business

5:00 p.m. — Adjourn

6:30 p.m. – Syngenta Reception

7:30 p.m. — Syngenta Awards Banquet, Coordinated by: Performance Marketing

9:30 p.m. – Concludes Awards Presentations

10:00 p.m. – Songfest

As noted in the agenda, 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 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.

“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.

Optional activities Wednesday morning include golf at beautiful Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City. The annual landscape tour will take a little different twist this year and be hosted by Bob Grover, owner of Pacific Landscape Management, one of the premier landscape management firms in the country. The staff of more than 100 people is known for its “outstanding service, innovation and professionalism. Its focus on sustainability is well-known nationally and will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about this fascinating company.

Following the tour, attendees will have lunch at one of the more famous micro-breweries in the Portland area – The Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Brewery.

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).

We hope you can join us. More information about the meeting can be found on our web site. Registration for the meeting is available right now.

Yes indeed: “Good Things are Brewing” for TOCA in Portland. See you there!

Sharpen your social media

By Chuck Bowen, Chair
Professional Development Committee

The Turf & Ornamental Communications Association (TOCA) Professional Development committee has set up two webinars for the spring. Both webinars are sponsored by FMC Professional Solutions and are offered free of charge to TOCA members. We are also making these webinars available to AAEA and ARC members at no charge.

In a two-part series, we’ll sit down with Rachel VanArsdale from Melamed Riley, a leading digital and social media marketing agency. Dates of the webinars are March 20 and April 10 at 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.

In part one, Rachel will walk us through what metrics social media and digital marketers need to understand and what they need to measure in order to make informed decisions for their future business initiatives. In part two, she’ll provide some action steps and tools to put data to work for your business. Learn how to make real-time decisions based on your findings to optimize your strategies and understand your success or failure.

Communicators today are all on social media and active on multiple digital platforms. Rachel’s two talks will help sharpen your focus and make sure you’re doing the right things to stay relevant to your audience.

You can register here for one or both webinars:

Thanks to Rachel at Melamed Riley for her time in putting these webinars together and to Adam Manwarren, turf and ornamental brand marketing manager for FMC Professional Solutions, for offering FMC’s support.

Record Turnout for GIS TOCA Breakfast

More than 60 TOCA members and prospects attended the TOCA breakfast at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego in February. It was the largest crowd for the breakfast in TOCA’s history.

Thanks to FMC for sponsoring the breakfast, along with support from GCSAA and Gardner & Gardner Communications.

The overflow crowd was updated on many fronts regarding the organization:

  • The membership drive continues to get to 250 members by the end of 2015.
  • The internship program, sponsored by Bayer, will be hosted by North Coast Media LLC.
  • The new Plant Health Writer of the Year program, also sponsored by Bayer, will close nominations March 1.
  • The annual meeting is set for May 7-9 in Portland, OR.
  • Work on the Strategic Plan continues on many fronts.
  • The Communications Contest deadline is March 1.
  • The Environmental Communicator of the Year deadline is March 1.

McGavock Edwards of IMRE, and TOCA board chair, was thrilled with the attendance. “It really shows the impact TOCA is having on the industry. We will continue to work diligently to grow TOCA through all our member programs.”

Professional Development – A Lifelong Process

By Steve Trusty
Trusty & Associates

I suppose I was asked to write this article because my life is longer than most of yours (to date). Maybe some of the things that I have done during the past (over 50 years) as a professional will help you advance your profession.


The first thing that comes to mind is association. As a member of TOCA you recognize at least some of the benefits of association. The key is to maximize all the available benefits. It is much more than belonging. Participating is more important and beneficial. Take every opportunity to get together with your peers. For most groups the annual meeting is usually the most beneficial. But, try to also take advantage of any other opportunities to meet with other members.

All of the scheduled activities are designed to help members grow in their profession. Many people find that the networking time between sessions is even more helpful. So, even if you don’t feel the sessions are just what you need, attend for more connections.

Do some planning before attending an event. Make a list of people you want to be sure you catch up with and renew the past. Jot down the names of a few people that you’d like to meet. If you don’t know anyone yet, or don’t have the names of those attending, think categories. Would you like to meet editors, company representatives, or people with similar responsibilities to yours? Give some thought to questions you’d like to have answered at the next opportunity to meet.

While it’s important to connect with anyone you already know, reach out to new people. It will help them feel welcome and possibly open new horizons for you. Be open and helpful in all your conversations. Do more listening than talking. You will learn more and will usually be more welcomed into conversations.

To get the most out of any association do more than attend meetings. Get involved. Volunteer for committees or any other opportunities that will assist the group. Over the years I have found that I have always gotten much more out of any organization if I’ve worked at giving back to it. Doors have been opened that I would not have even seen otherwise.

Continuing Education

Continuing education has never been more accessible. Courses are available online for just about any area you can imagine. If you are close to an educational facility that offers courses of interest, in-person attendance does have worthwhile benefits. Personal contacts and face-to-face conversations provide insights not possible online. Online is certainly better than doing nothing. As you learn more about your profession, the more you will grow in your profession.

If writing is part of your responsibility, take writing classes. If speaking is a portion of your duties, get involved in groups that will help you in that area. If management is your thing or you want to get into management, take courses that help you manage.


If you are with a publication, read the competition. Not only will you see what they are doing, you’ll see things that you can do better to fit your specific audience. If you’re going to write something for a particular publication, read at least 3 back issues, cover-to-cover including the ads. This will help you get to know the audience so you can speak directly to them. If you are writing a release for numerous publications, read as many of them as you can to determine what to say, and in what way so it will reach the largest audience.

Read as many publications as possible that are related to your profession. Also, reach outside to peripheral areas that will broaden your perspective.


Try to make what ever you do enjoyable. Look for the bright side. Embrace challenges and change. If you can’ enjoy what you’re doing, look for something you can enjoy. The more you enjoy what you’re doing the better you will be at it.


Let others in your profession know what you gain from all of the above. Share the books and other publications you read. Let your peers know what classes you are taking. Let people know how much fun, and beneficial the TOCA meetings are. (Of all the meetings I have attended over the years the TOCA Annual Meeting has always been the most beneficial to me and my growth as a communicator.) Share your enjoyment and you’ll not only cheer up others, but you’ll strengthen your own satisfaction.

If you have other ideas for professional development please pass your thoughts along to me, or offer to write your own column on the subject.

TOCA Membership News

By Kathy Heyda,
TOCA Membership Director

As of the end of February 2013, we have received 165 TOCA Memberships.  This number includes 124 renewals and 41 new members.

If you have not renewed your membership yet, please do that right away.  You may pay dues with a check made payable to the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Send it to 605 Columbus Ave. South, PO Box 156, New Prague, MN 56071.  Or you may pay dues online with a credit card (VISA/MC/AMEX) at  If you go to our website, look under Membership and at the bottom of the Membership page you will find the two options for payment.

TOCA membership, compared to other organizations, is a tremendous bargain. It’s only $125 per year for the first member from your organization and $75 for the second member and subsequent members from your organization. In this way your company can save considerably per person by renewing as a group. Let us thank those companies and organizations who have continued to support us with a high level of 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 (952-758-6340) with questions about your membership.

We are in the process of updating our digital edition of the TOCA Directory.  Please follow this link to view the document:

Please note that our email address has changed:

TOCA welcomes the following new members:
Ciara Ahern, Global Prairie
Nichole Allen, Exmark Mfg. Co. Inc.
Crystal Baus, Canyon Communications
Caitlyn Braegelmann, Hunter Industries
Sandra Cashman, EPIC Creative
Catlin O’Shaughnessy Coffrin, Global Prairie
Matt Gersib, PR Consultant
Mike Hirvela, Bayer
Andy Kaler, Dow AgroSciences
Jeri Lamerton, Ditch Witch
Troy Leezy, Hunter Industries
Lisa Lehman, Moose River Media
Fuzz Martin, EPIC Creative
Jeff Michel, Bayer
Erin Nash, Woodruff Sweitzer
Mike Peters, Swanson Russell
Robert Powell, Global Prairie
Joseph Rogge, EPIC Creative
Michael Simmon, The Grasshopper Co.
Jenny Miltner Spurgeon, Global Prairie
Joe Steinlage, Bayer
Rick Thaemert, Global Prairie
Patricia Vaughan, Randall Reilly Publishing
Cara Weigand, IMRE

TOCA Membership Recruitment Email

By Dan Gardner
TOCA Membership Recruitment Director

(Editor’s Note: This is the pitch being used by Dan Gardner to recruit new members to TOCA. PLEASE take five minutes and send it to your colleagues as we grow TOCA from 170 to 200 by the end of this year. Your involvement is greatly appreciated.)

Good day. My name is Dan Gardner and I am membership recruitment director for the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), a 24-year-old professional development membership organization for the Green Industry.   I have been personally contacting industry professionals and asking them to join our organization.

We are a group of writers, editors, publishers, photographers, public relations/advertising practitioners, industry association leaders and others involved in green industry communications. Every major magazine and company in the green industry are members.

TOCA can help you via our webinars, annual meeting, professional contests, award programs, scholarships, internships and more. We also have a quarterly newsletter. Networking with the best communicators in the industry is second to none in any organization you may belong to in this great industry. We are an international and national organization with approximately 170 members.

Please visit our new re-furbished website at  For a mere $125 annually (and only $75 for additional members from your company) your professional life can be enriched.

The 8th Annual TOCA International Communications Awards Program

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), a United States-based professional marketing communications organization for the Green Industry, is pleased to announce its eighth international program to recognize best writing, design and photography throughout the world.

The program is sponsored by International Syngenta Professional Products.

Download Information Sheet and Entry Form Here

Nufarm Acquires Cleary Chemical Corporation, Expands Portfolio

(Burr Ridge, Ill., and Dayton, NJ) – Nufarm Americas acquired Cleary Chemical Corporation, effective Jan. 1. Nufarm has been active in TOCA as members (Brian Rund and Erika Canady) and sponsors for several years.

“We are excited about the synergy and opportunity this move will bring,” said Darryl Matthews, general manager for Nufarm in North America. Nufarm will offer the entire line of Cleary products under the Cleary’s brand name. “It will be business as usual for the short-term as we integrate the two businesses,” said Sean Casey, vice president of Turf & Ornamentals for Nufarm.

Calendar of Events | 2013

March 12
TOCA Communications Contest entries due

April 1
TOCA International Communications Contest entries due

May 7-10, 2013 (Tues-Fri)
24th annual TOCA Meeting
Embassy Suites Portland Hotel
Portland, OR

October 23-25, 2013
Green Industry & Equipment EXPO (GIE + EXPO)
Kentucky Exposition Center
Louisville, KY

October 25, 2013
TOCA Breakfast
Kentucky Exposition Center, Room TBD
Louisville, KY