Communicating theGreenLanguage By Kayli Hanley

Long live language. Understanding a new language forges bridges over treacherous rivers, tunnels under impassable mountains, pathways through dense forests and passages into locked doors. Green industry communicators take on the task of translating and communicating the language of the irrigation and landscape industries in order to weave together a story with a beginning and middle, but no end in sight.

Many green industry communicators have teamed up with like-minded professionals via the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association to accomplish this shared goal. The following looks through the lenses of four different types of communicators, all brought together through TOCA. Word by word, they are communicating a language that works to improve and flourish the green industry.

Linda Beattie Marketing and Communications Professional

Beautiful (adjective)

“As a communicator, you paint the picture. Landscape and irrigation provides a wonderfully colorful pallet.”

Linda Beattie loves to communicate and is quick to add, “I want to change the world!” Her passion for talking to others brought her to a job opening in the green industry 15 years ago.

“Coming into the industry was kind of interesting because I didn’t know it,” Beattie said. Learning new things gave her the opportunity to write stories about what she was learning, which she enjoyed.

Having served as a green industry communicator on the manufacturer side of the business, Beattie thirsts for chances to keep her audience abreast of changes happening in the irrigation and landscape industries.

“Communication is important for a lot of reasons, but primarily in the green industry it is important to keep people informed about the latest and greatest advancements.”

Beattie sees the positive effects that irrigation and landscaping can contribute to enhance and grow our beautiful ecosystem and wants others to be able to see that, as well.

“Irrigation alone helps you recycle water. Why wouldn’t you want to be able to do that? I want to communicate all the good, and sometimes you have to communicate the bad, but you should do it in a straightforward fashion and be honest.”

Beattie’s history with TOCA goes back 12 years. For six of those years, she has served as a board member. “There are so many great communicators in this industry and they don’t get a voice. We need to nurture the young people in this industry, and TOCA is a good way to do that.”

Beattie also appreciates the broad membership of green industry communicators TOCA represents. “TOCA is a great avenue in this industry for veterans to share what they know and to learn from newbies. It helped me find my voice, my way.”

28 Irrigation TODAY | January 2017

Chuck Bowen Editor and Associate Publisher for Lawn & Landscape

Vast (adjective)

“The average American has a basic concept of our industry, but they don’t understand how big it is and the impact it has on our culture and society.”

Chuck Bowen started out as a newspaper reporter in the Cleveland area. He enjoyed his profession but wanted a better way to support his family. This desire led to a job as an assistant editor for Pest Control Technology. He enjoyed working for the company and soon transferred to their flagship magazine, Lawn & Landscape, where he has worked for the last eight-and-a-half years.

As an editor, Bowen works diligently to communicate topics about irrigation and landscaping to his audience. “We see ourselves as the hub,” Bowen said. “We try to help all the people in the industry understand all the other people in the industry. Our goal is to help as many people in the green industry as we can.”

Bowen, a current TOCA member and past board member, joined the organization to meet other communication professionals in the industry who were dedicated to telling the green industry’s story. He was not disappointed.

“It has allowed me to understand the communication side of the green industry beyond the editorial side,” he said. “Something I’ve always appreciated about the green industry is everyone’s willingness to share that knowledge.”

From an editorial standpoint, Bowen feels the biggest challenge pro- fessional communicators encounter is being able to tell the vast amount of stories the industry has.

“There is no shortage of very interesting research and people,” Bowen said. But it’s a challenge he feels green industry communicators are up for. “It’s a great problem to have. It’s what makes it interesting for us.”

“Something I’ve always appreciated about the green industry is everyone’s willingness to share that knowledge.”

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