Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you operate in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all families, everybody ought to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.
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, totally sustainable and totally affordable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 property units, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have an economic impact that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. That quantity of cash effects the spending plan of daily families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a service, any company, was going to be challenging. With that said, access to capital is ungodly tough. When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable housing 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 dont want to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made really small, incremental development. I believe the lesson is that union structure is essential. My voice just indicates so much, but the more I can bring pals to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
I believe there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are also constantly prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to.
What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, provide financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are also always ready to host individuals if they wish to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Im constantly tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I think that has genuine value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering people with totally various perspectives. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge distinction.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features market leaders and topics related to accelerating an equitable 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 companies are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and track record of producing constant returns with a personal enthusiasm for helping change communities and their impact on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas transition 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 two turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas costs, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and bring it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I dont care what happens the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is progressing; those moments are with you forever. As I talk about that with different groups around the nation, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
The second turning point was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a firm that was buying a host of things worldwide. Individuals were coming in to request for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I posed a concern to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is amazing, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that aid daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt inquire about the daily individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families often live in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you need to get in touch with specific households and the cost of getting those people educated and then signing up for renewable resource is not a favorable business design.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace permanently. So I quit my job. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I started my company. Because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Whatever is I do is targeted to families in those circumstances and focused on enhancing their quality of life