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

Show us a current success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and totally affordable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffee bar, an organization 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 always a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is crucial is we have an economic impact that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. That amount of cash impacts the budget of daily families
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What challenges do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a service, any organization, was going to be hard. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they do not wish to partner; they do not desire to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made extremely small, incremental development. I believe the lesson is that union building is essential. My voice only suggests so much, however the more I can bring friends to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
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Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, needs to work as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and fortunately we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some brand-new places this fall
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By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics connected to speeding up a fair and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the eco-friendly energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets professional 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 competence and performance history of developing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting change neighborhoods and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a tidy economy.
LEARNT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to start your company?
I had 2 turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas costs, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas costs. And so, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut off. For around a year in my teens, we needed to boil water and bring it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively difficult times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is progressing; those moments are with you forever. As I talk about that with various groups around the country, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good idea
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They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the everyday individuals. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. I named it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up.

What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is incredible. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge deal. Were currently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Normalizing direct exposure, standing beside us and stating “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
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How can potential partners work with you?
We are also constantly ready to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to. Im always tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has genuine value
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How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with absolutely different point of views. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.
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I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are also constantly willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people once a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to.

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