Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise always willing to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically havent had access.
So what can organizations 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 constantly important. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are worthy of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, use debt or buy some tax credits, thats the very first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods, we are also always willing to host people. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that traditionally have not had access. We are also going to be expanding our board. Im constantly 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 terrific just to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and finding out about people with absolutely different viewpoints. I like the networking.
I believe we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.
Show us a current success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, totally sustainable and totally budget-friendly advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential systems, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. That amount of cash effects the spending plan of daily households
What obstacles 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 wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that union building is crucial.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics associated with speeding up an equitable and simply shift to an eco-friendly energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his know-how and performance history of developing constant returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change neighborhoods and their impact on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas shift to a clean economy.
FOUND OUT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to begin your business?
I had two pivotal moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas expense, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas bill. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily people. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my business. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up.
Tell us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everyone ought to have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and thankfully we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be announcing some new places this fall