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

Inform us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all families, everybody should have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation includes market leaders and subjects related to accelerating an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his expertise and track record of creating consistent returns with a personal passion for assisting transform neighborhoods and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition to a tidy economy.
READ MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to start your business?
I had 2 pivotal minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas expense, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas costs. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the daily people. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I began my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.

What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are deserving of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are likewise always willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to. Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with absolutely various point of views. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge distinction.

I think there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are likewise constantly ready to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that historically have not had gain access to.

Share with us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, entirely cost effective and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential units, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is important is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. That quantity of cash impacts the budget plan of everyday households
What difficulties do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a company, any company, was going to be hard. With that said, access to capital is ungodly tough. When I go to banks and state that were constructing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they dont wish to partner; they do not want to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made extremely little, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that coalition building is essential. My voice only indicates a lot, however the more I can bring buddies to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need