Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.

Tell us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you run in, primary customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone should have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.

I think there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always important. We are also constantly prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access.

What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were currently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a value on that
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How can prospective partners do organization with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly searching for partners to invest, offer debt or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are also constantly ready to host individuals if they wish to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally havent had access. We are also going to be broadening our board. Due to the fact that I believe that has genuine worth, Im constantly challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
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How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering people with completely various perspectives. I like the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.
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Show us a current success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, completely economical and entirely sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 property units, a coffee bar, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
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What effect are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is essential is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were aiming to cut utility expenses for families in half. Thats a huge offer, you understand. That quantity of money impacts the budget plan of everyday families
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What obstacles do you face? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a service, any service, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks dont wish to invest; they do not wish to partner; they do not want to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made very little, incremental development. I think the lesson is that union building is essential. My voice just implies a lot, however the more I can bring buddies to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
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By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics associated with accelerating a fair and simply transition to a sustainable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are growing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and performance history of developing constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform communities and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a tidy economy.
FOUND OUT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to begin your business?
I had 2 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas costs. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For around a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and carry it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick with you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is moving on; those moments are with you permanently. As I speak about that with different groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a good thing
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The second pivotal moment was probably 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things around the globe. Individuals were being available in to request a financial investment around renewable resource, and I presented a question to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is spectacular, and the expense of solar is boiling down, however how does that assistance everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families often live in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to get in touch with specific families and the cost of getting those people educated and then subscribing to sustainable energy is not a favorable service design.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the market forever. So I quit my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. Since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those circumstances and focused on enhancing their quality of life
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