It’s early afternoon when I dial in to talk to Ryan McCollum, principal of RMC Strategies, a full-service political consulting company based in Springfield. Our interview is scheduled on the same day as the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield’s (YPS) Annual Great Golf Escape and I imagine that he is sneaking away on the course for our phone chat. But McCollum is not teeing off. He is between appointments when I catch him and needs to call me back to finish an important conversation he’s having with one of his interns.


As one of the cofounders of YPS, the annual golf day is a tradition for him. In fact, that’s how McCollum and I met more than five years ago. We were randomly paired as partners and spent the sunny afternoon drinking beers, talking about the city of Springfield, and McCollum hilariously reassuring me that it’s normal to break tees when I apologized profusely for breaking his. Golf aficionado I am not. McCollum joins me in falling in that weird generational span—the one that is mushed between Gen X and Gen Y. Most of us were born roughly between 1976 and 1981 and we identity with the generation right before and after us, but we’re sort of an amalgam of both. There’s a uniqueness to those born between this window. We still hold on to tradition a bit, but buck against anything that is too standardized. We are Gen X’s cooler younger sibling but old enough to teach Gen Y a thing or two about change.

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