So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always important. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are deserving of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners work with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly trying to find partners to invest, use financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are also always willing to host individuals if they desire to see a few of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Im always difficult magnates to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with completely different perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge difference.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment includes industry leaders and subjects associated with speeding up an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are thriving in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and performance history of creating constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting transform communities and their influence 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 begin your company?
I had two turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas costs, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we couldnt pay for the gas costs. And so, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and bring it as much as 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 moving forward; those minutes are with you permanently. As I talk about that with different groups around the country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
The second turning point was probably 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was purchasing a host of things around the world. People were being available in to request for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I posed a question to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is amazing, and the cost of solar is coming down, however how does that assistance daily 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 attempt ask about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households typically live 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 get in touch with specific households and the cost of getting those individuals educated and after that subscribing to renewable energy is not a beneficial company design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement 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 six months of that conversation, and I began my business. Since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those circumstances and focused on enhancing their quality of life
Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you run in, main customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone must have access. Someone, some entity, needs to work as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone. Thats what my mission is, and fortunately we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some brand-new places this fall
Show us a recent success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely economical and completely sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential units, a coffee shop, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. That quantity of money impacts the budget of daily families
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a company, any company, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly challenging. When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks dont desire to invest; they dont want to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im attempting to battle here, and weve made really little, incremental development. I think the lesson is that union structure is very important. My voice only implies a lot, however the more I can bring friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. We are likewise constantly prepared to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to.