TOCATalk – Winter 2013


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

Happy New Year to all! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what 2013 will bring – and what success for the year will require from me. In my professional life, we’re talking all about content. I’m sure you’re doing the same since “content” has been (and continues to be) the buzzword in anything related to marketing, the Internet and Social web.

At IMRE, we talk about content being kingand, in fact, the master of
everything. And, ya’ know what? It’s true! As communicators, it’s up to
us to tell stories – stories of the people in our industry, the products
we manufacture, the offerings we provide. Whether you’re an editor, a PR
person or a marketing professional – creating content that draws people
in, resonates with them, and compels them to act is likely a critical part
of your job.

But we, as TOCA members, aren’t just the curators of content. My charge
to you is beyond that. It’s not enough to gather stories and tell them.
It’s up to us to help create the story line. It’s our responsibility to
connect people to the greater meaning, and the greater good, of our industry.

We can be the authors of our industry’s story.

So, this year, I’m asking you to become a content creator on behalf of
TOCA. Help us craft an interesting story for our association, and the industry
as a whole. Make connections to build the storyline. Bring to life the good
that we each (and collectively) do. Each TOCA chapter – from our membership drive to our professional development to our support of industry growth and sustainability – will shape an interesting narrative. One that can make a difference in how we, as communicators, and we, as Green Industry professionals, are perceived and can create change.

We have many goals for TOCA, and many amazing authors already writing
the story. I hope you’ll decide to become a content creator this year. And,
may we all find true happiness and success in 2013!

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

By Den Gardner
Executive Director

Editor’ Note: Following is a reprise (with updates) of the fall 2012
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 fall article to get all our membership excited about the
Portland, OR, meeting. So, please remember, this is what you
want to be like if you want to enjoy the city of Portland 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.

Oh, and then there’s 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.

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, I know plenty of TOCA members like that, don’t you?

The agenda (summarized here, but available at ( 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

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

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

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 ProcrastinationPerson” 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 folksTOCA 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.

“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).

Yes, we are excited about Portland in 2013! We hope you can join us.
More information about the meeting can be found on our web site. Registration for the meeting will be ready by early February at the latest.

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


Changes coming to Communications Contest
and more

By Den Gardner,
Executive Director

TOCA’s very successful annual publishing and marketing communications
contests will be undergoing some tweaks in the next year, most prominently
being a change in the contributing entries via PDF to encourage more entries and the reduction in the number of categories per contest.

Following the TOCA Board of Directors meeting in Louisville in October,
these changes will be implemented for the 2013 contests:

First, new this year is that in a number of categories members can enter
by submitting a PDF. In both the Publishing – Editorial and Advertising;
and Marketing Communications sections, members can enter with a PDF if convenient.

Mostly these relate to the writing and design and special projects categories.

“We believe these changes will allow for ease in entries,” said Den Gardner, executive director. “We encourage you to call our office if you have questions.”

Secondly, some seldom-entered categories have been eliminated. Those
categories had fewer than five entries in the previous three years. Some
other categories in the New Media and Photography, Video and Multimedia
areas remain, despite some having just a few entries.

“Some of our New Media and other categories have room to grow,”
said Gardner. “We want to give them a few years to blossom and generate
plenty of entries. We are encouraged by our results thus far and plan to
move forward aggressively to promote some of our newer categories.”

As TOCA members know, the photo contest was revised last year to create
more entries. And entries increased by 20 percent as a result. In addition,
more efforts will be made to reach out to companies that haven’t traditionally entered the contest.

For more information about the TOCA annual contest, please contact the
staff by phone (952/758-6340) or by email:


New look website for TOCA in 2013

By Brian Schoenthaler
Associated Advertising

TOCA’s website is getting a facelift beginning January 1, 2013. The new
look will feature a redesigned home page that is designed to enhance the
user experience and provide quicker access to information. The home page,
shown below, showcases the new look. News and information will be readily
available on this page as is a member login area. New members will be recognized at the bottom of the member area.

Photos at the top of the home page are supplied by TOCA members and a
rotation of photos provides a fresh look every five seconds. Each photo
lists the proper credit for the photo.

Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Green and Publisher sponsors will be
reproduced at the bottom of the home and nearly every subsequent page of
the refreshed website when it goes live January 1. Clicking a sponsor’s
logo will take you to their web page.

Visitors to the website will be able to select various pages of interest
including: About Us, TOCA Guidelines, Current News, Membership, Events,
Contests & Awards, Contact Us, Advertise On Our Site and Sponsorship
Info. Most of these pages will make use of photography taken at various
TOCA events. The site contains much of the same content as the current site, yet provides a more flexible framework for future growth.

The new website will be implemented in two phases. Phase One will carry
the same basic functionality for credit card payments and information as
the current site. Again, it will go live on January 1, 2013, using the same
web address:

Phase Two will be implemented later in 2013 or early 2014 and will carry
enhanced eCommerce selections to register for the Annual Meeting, enter
contests, etc.

The new look is the collaboration of the TOCA staff and Associated Integrated Marketing.


TOCA Scholarship Program

Download the Application Form


TOCA Environmental Communicator of the

Download the Application Form here


TOCA International Contest

Download the Entry Form here


TOCA Announces New Internship Program

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) announces
the TOCA Internship Program. The program will begin in 2013. Sponsored by Bayer, the internship program will involve the selection of a college student for an eight- to 10-week summer employment with a Green Industry publication that’s a member of TOCA. A selection committee of TOCA members will choose the student for the internship.

The intern will receive a $3,000 stipend (to be paid by TOCA).

“We are thrilled to be implementing this brand new program through
TOCA,” said Scott Welge, head of marketing for Bayer’s Professional
Lawn and Golf businesses. “It’s important for young college communicators
to better understand the Green Industry and an internship at a major TOCA
publication is one step in the right direction in that learning curve.”

TOCA Executive Director Den Gardner adds that Bayer’s new Platinum Sponsorship of TOCA is just one of the new initiatives to be undertaken by TOCA in the years ahead. “The internship is one important program for TOCA, and more new initiatives are also underway. These programs are being made available through our new sponsorship program with Bayer. Stay tuned for more programs as part of TOCA’s new strategic plan as we move closer to 2014 and our 25th year of existence.”

Publishing companies wishing to host the intern should fill out the host
application form on the TOCA website. Deadline for the host application
is Dec. 31.

Students wishing to apply for the 2013 summer internship program need
to fill out the application blank on the web site. Deadline is Feb. 28,
2013. Go to for the application blanks.


New Plant Health Writer Award Program
Announced by TOCA

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) announces
today the Plant Health Writer of the Year Program. The program will begin
in 2013.

Sponsored by Bayer, the Plant Health Writer of the Year Award program
is provided annually to an outstanding writer for excellence in plant health
issues to the appropriate green industry audience through writing, including
New Media, for a publication or publishing company. The winner of this program must be a TOCA member.

A stipend of $1,000 will be given annually to the winner to be used for
professional development in the green industry. A selection committee chosen by the TOCA Board of Directors will select the winner each year, as well as the appropriate use of the stipend.

“This program will annually honor a TOCA member who consistently
educates and informs his Green Industry audience about the importance of
plant health in our every day business,” said Scott Welge, head of
marketing for Bayer’s Professional Lawn and Golf businesses. “It’s
vital in our environment today – with a focus on caring for the land in
all the aspects of the turf and ornamental industry – that writers keep
end-users up-to-date and knowledgeable about these important issues.”

TOCA Executive Director Den Gardner adds that Bayer’s new Platinum Sponsorship of TOCA is part of a new effort to recognize Green Industry communicators through these types of writing programs. “We are excited that this new program, combined with Bayer’s sponsorship of the new internship program, provides opportunities to recognize young and seasoned leaders alike for their commitment to the Green Industry.”

For the 2013 program, entries submitted must be published or been presented between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012. Entries are due March 1, 2013.

The winner will be announced at the 24th annual TOCA meeting in Portland,
OR, May 8-9. For more information about this program, contact TOCA at or via phone: 952/758-6340.


Strategic Plan

By Jason Schmaderer,
Swanson Russell,
Chair of the Strategic Plan Committee

TOCA’s strategic planning committees – Membership, Professional Development, Communications & Branding, Corporate Sponsorships – continue to work diligently toward the goals set we for our long-term health as an association.

The following report outlines 2012 activity from each group. Most groups
are also in the process of developing action plans for the coming year,
which will be presented at the spring board meeting.

If you are not currently active on a committee, I encourage you to consider
offering your skills and talents to help us grow and improve our organization.
I also encourage you to thank the various committee members who have so
stepped forward thus far.

Membership Committee

Jason Schmaderer
Jeff Cull
Scott Hollister
Dan Gardner
Linda Beattie
Pat Jones

The membership committee is preparing a significant new member recruitment effort in 2013. In addition to supporting membership renewals, the committee has identified a targeted list of prospects and will begin communicating to these potential new members. A new membership flyer outlining all the benefits TOCA will be used as a centerpiece of the communications process along with the updated TOCA website and new social media platforms developed by the communications committee.

We will also be developing some survey tools to help us continue to gain
insight into the things our members value and identify areas for improvement.

As we head into 2013, we are excited to begin this process in earnest and
anticipate growth in our member numbers.

Professional Development Committee

Debbie Clayton
Chuck Bowen
Lacy Ravencraft
Felicia Gillham
Dave Blasko
Christina Schave
Maureen McCormick

The professional development group has focused on four areas: annual
meeting, newsletter content, webinar development, and mentor program.

Annual Meeting: The committee recommended and executed a change
in format for the annual meeting, which has been in effect for three years.
Each meeting now has an industry theme and one day of corresponding presentations and/or panel discussions.

Mentor program: The mentor program has been in place for two years,
with eight mentors – four for marketing and four for publishing. Several
mentor-mentee relationships are ongoing. We hope to hold our first mentor
roundtable at the Portland meeting.

Newsletter content: Mentors take turns providing professional
development content for the quarterly TOCA Talk newsletter.

Webinar development: The committee also initiated a webinar program
with a goal of providing two webinars (free of charge to TOCA members) each year. We hosted a “Time Management for Creative Types” webinar
in January 2012. The next webinar – “Google Analytics Explained”
– is scheduled for January 22, 2013.

Communications & Branding Committee

Cindy Code
Dan Jacobs
Larry Aylward
Linda Frerichs
McGavock Edwards
Marisa Palmieri
Laura Ory
Linda Beattie
Jon Kiger

The Communications Committee has been exploring how to best use social
media to get the TOCA message out. In recent months, a TOCA LinkedIn profile and group was launched. The committee believes the LinkedIn group will be a great way to get other people involved in the organization beyond when members see each other at GIS, GIE+EXPO and the annual conference. All TOCA members are encouraged to join the group. New TOCA members must request to join LinkedIn group and will be approved by the administrators (communication committee members). This committee plans to work with the membership committee to determine eligibility.

The TOCA Facebook page was also launched since this year. Be sure to
like it. ( and the
committee continues to work on a plan for TOCA members to get the most out of social media and to stay connected throughout the year.

Sponsorships Committee

Den Gardner
Tom Mentzer

Heading into 2013, the sponsorship committee has been able to renew and
create new corporate sponsorships. There are several sponsorships still
being finalized but the outIook for 2013 is positive. Moving forward, the
committee is preparing a more detailed plan that will be ready by the spring
board meeting outlining a plan 2014 and beyond.


Meetings Matter

By Dan Jacobs,
Project EverGreen
Meeting Boy _@MeetingBoy

Don’t tell me the meeting you blew off wasn’t in your calendar. YOU SENT

— (From one of my favorite Twitter feeds)

Meetings. There’s nothing like them. There’s nothing like a meeting to
get employees and team members on the same page, to explain policies or
procedures, or to get the ball rolling on a new project.

There are also few things that can kill productivity, confuse employees
or crush morale. Meetings need to have a purpose and they need to be brief
and to the point. Below are several tips gathered from the web on how to
conduct effective meetings.

Purpose: Have a reason for the meeting. Mondays are rough enough. If
you don’t have something to say, then let people, if you don’t have a purpose for the meeting, don’t have one.

Participants. Only the people involved in the issue need to be there.
Meetings shouldn’t be social events. If not everyone in the office or the
department needs to be there, don’t invite them.

Prepare: Make sure everyone knows what the meeting is about and don’t
waste time having them review materials they could have already had in their

Leader. Someone needs to be in charge and keep the meeting moving along.

Agendas: Have one and stick to it. Meetings have a way of digressing.
Issues discussed (and decided) months ago are often rehashed and arguments rekindled. A former editor of mine once described it as “institutional Alzheimer’s” – a disease that allows groups to suffer debilitating
memory lapses that waste time and energy.

Time frame. Start the meeting and end the meeting on time. Few things
are more frustrating than sitting around waiting for one more than hearing
“let’s just wait a few more minutes for (insert your favorite procrastinator’s
name here) to show up. Most people don’t have every minute of their day
crammed with work related activities, but neither do they have large junks
of time waiting around with nothing to do.

Develop guidelines and follow them. Simple and straightforward. Most
meetings I’ve been apart of are pretty straightforward, but every so often
a meeting meanders its way to something off topic or is monopolized by one
individual with a separate agenda. Don’t let it happen.

Act. Discussion is great, but unless some sort of action is taken you’re
just spinning your wheels. Maybe you need to push off a decision until later,
but make sure that those responsible for moving the concept forward are
aware of the next steps they must take.

Follow up. Once roles and responsibilities are handed out, check in with
people after the meeting to make sure they understand what their job and
have what they need to get it done.

And finally (and this applies to far more than meetings) make sure to
thank everyone for their time and efforts. Sometimes it’s the small things
that make a big difference.


TOCA and Gardner & Gardner Communications
Offer New Member Breakfast Reception

Golf Industry Show (GIS)

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) is providing
a breakfast reception at the Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Diego. TOCA
and Gardner & Gardner Communications are co-sponsoring the reception.
Room provided courtesy of GCSAA/Golf Course Management.

Breakfast Details:

For Whom: TOCA Members and Invited Guests

When: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Where: Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Elevation Room

Time: 7:00-8:00 a.m.

We encourage you to bring a prospective member/guest to the breakfast.
Please RSVP to Den Gardner or Barb Ulschmid at 952-758-6340 or e-mail your RSVP to


TOCA Calendar

December 31, 2012
TOCA Internship Host application deadline

February 6, 2013 (Wed)
GIS: New Member TOCA Breakfast, 7-8:30 a.m.
Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Elevation Room
San Diego, CA

February 28 2013
TOCA Internship application deadline

March 1
Plant Health Writer of the Year application deadline

March 1
Environmental Communicator of the Year application deadline

March 1
TOCA Scholarship application deadline

March 12
TOCA Communications Contest entries due

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


TOCA Membership Update

By Kathy Heyda,
TOCA Membership Director

We have received 73 membership renewals since the renewal notices were
emailed in September. We have also received 17 NEW memberships this fall. 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

Laura Allen, GIE Media
April Allenbrand, PBI/Gordon Corp.
Stephanie Antal, GIE Media
Jim Blayney, GIE Media
Larissa Blick, Swanson Russell
Sean Burris, GIE Media
George Casey, Meister Media Worldwide
Melissa Dohmen, Swanson Russell
Matt McClellan, GIE Media
Robin Siktberg, Meister Media Worldwide
Michelle Simakis, GIE Media
Stormy Smith, Two Rivers Marketing
Kate Spirgen, GIE Media
Allison Toadvine, Schiller Grounds Care
Karen Varga, GIE Media
Anna Walter, Associated Integrated Marketing
Matthew Yaske, MRDS, Inc.