Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Share with us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and totally economical advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic units, a coffee bar, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
When individuals learn who is behind our business, I believe there is constantly a shock. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it. To me, thats quite satisfying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is necessary is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were aiming to cut utility costs for households in half. Thats a big offer, you understand. That quantity of money effects the budget plan of everyday families
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were building sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition structure is crucial.
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 individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always important. We are also always prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had access.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment includes industry leaders and subjects connected to accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are flourishing in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and track record of developing constant returns with an individual passion for helping change neighborhoods and their impact on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas shift to a clean economy.
READ 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 dollars an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas bill. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat turned off. For around a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I do not care what takes place the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is moving on; those minutes are with you permanently. As I discuss that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
The second turning point was probably 15 years earlier, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things around the globe. Individuals were being available in to ask for a financial investment around sustainable energy, and I postured a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar companies is incredible, and the expense of solar is boiling down, but how does that aid everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the daily people. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households frequently reside in multi-family structures, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to call individual households and the expense of getting those individuals informed and then signing up for renewable resource is not a beneficial service model.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace permanently. So I quit my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my business. I named it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the general public real estate where I matured. So everything is I do is targeted to households in those circumstances and focused on improving their quality of life
What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always important. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do company with you?
We are likewise constantly ready to host people 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 access. Im always difficult leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific simply to meet the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering people with completely different viewpoints. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you run in, main customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody should have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.