Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Share with us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, entirely budget friendly and completely sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential units, a coffeehouse, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
When individuals discover who is behind our business, I think there is always a shock. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have a financial impact that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That amount of money effects the budget plan of everyday households
What challenges do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is crucial.
So what can companies 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 always valuable. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are worthy of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do service with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, offer debt or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are likewise always willing to host individuals if they wish to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that traditionally havent had access. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Since I believe that has genuine value, Im constantly tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent just to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about people with completely different viewpoints. I like the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
Inform us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you run in, primary clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all communities, all households, everybody needs to have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.
I believe there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically havent had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features industry leaders and topics associated with speeding up an equitable and simply transition to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing 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 property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and track record of developing constant returns with an individual passion for assisting transform neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact on Americas shift 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 begin your company?
I had two essential minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas bill. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat turned off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and bring it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that just stick with 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 different groups around the country, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a good thing
The 2nd critical moment was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things worldwide. People were coming in to request an investment around sustainable energy, and I positioned a concern to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is magnificent, and the expense of solar is coming down, but how does that help everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households frequently live in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those constructing 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 individuals informed and after that signing up for sustainable energy is not a favorable company design.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the market permanently. So I stopped my task. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my company. Because that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to households in those circumstances and focused on improving their lifestyle