By Larry Aylward

The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association is comprised of writers, editors and publishers from green industry trade magazines as well as public relations representatives, marketers and executives from supplier companies and their agencies. Margaret Bell, who recently retired from Syngenta after 35 years, is one of TOCA’s most popular members in its 23-year history. That’s just one of the reasons why Bell received TOCA’s rarely awarded Distinguished Service Award last week during the group’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Bell received the award in front of about 60 TOCA members.

Bell has worked in marketing communications in Syngenta’s Lawn & Garden group for the past 11 years. She began at Syngenta in the late 1970s, and her career spanned the green industry, pest control and agriculture markets. She was senior marketing communications manager when she retired last week.

Bell’s role as a communicator in the green industry is well known, as she interacted regularly with editors, public relations professionals, writers and trade association executives in the lawn and landscape, ornamental and golf course industries. She also knew many golf course superintendents.

During the award ceremony, several people spoke on Bell’s behalf, including Stephanie Schwenke, Syngenta’s golf market manager. Schwenke noted Bell’s "incredible contributions to the green industry."

"It’s impossible to measure what Margaret has meant to Syngenta all these years," Schwenke added.

Den Gardner, executive director of TOCA, called Bell "a consummate professional; working tirelessly to accurately communicate the benefits of Syngenta’s products and services to writers and end users."

"As you head down a field of turf on your shiny riding lawn mower, I say happy trails to you until we meet again," Gardner said.

After receiving the honor, Bell said the last 11 years spent on the specialty side of the business were her favorite.

"I truly love each and every one of you," she said.

Pictured above: TOCA’s Den Gardner with longtime TOCA board member and Syngenta communications manager Margaret Bell. Article and photography by Superintendent Editor-in-Chief Larry Alyward.