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, main clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everyone should have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.

Share with us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally sustainable and totally economical development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 domestic units, a coffeehouse, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
When people discover who is behind our company, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it. To me, thats quite satisfying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is essential is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. Were aiming to cut utility costs for households in half. Thats a big deal, you know. That amount of cash effects the spending plan of daily households
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any business, was going to be hard. With that said, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were building 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 dont want to invest; they dont wish to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made extremely small, incremental development. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is essential. My voice just suggests so much, but the more I can bring buddies to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment includes industry leaders and topics associated with speeding up a fair and just transition to a sustainable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are growing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and track record of producing constant returns with an individual passion for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named 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 business?
I had 2 critical moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. Therefore, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and carry it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I do not care what occurs the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving on; those moments are with you permanently. As I discuss that with various groups around the country, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday individuals. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up.

I believe there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people simply cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are also constantly ready to host individuals if they desire 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 innovation that were using in communities that traditionally have not had gain access to.

So 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 important. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do business with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, offer financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods, we are also constantly ready to host people. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had access. We are also going to be expanding our board. Due to the fact that I believe that has genuine value, Im always difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with absolutely various perspectives. I like the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.