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, entirely economical and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential units, a coffee store, 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 think there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That amount of cash effects the budget of daily families
What challenges do you face? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any organization, was going to be hard. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly tough. When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they dont wish to partner; they dont wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made extremely little, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that coalition building is very important. My voice just means so much, however the more I can bring pals to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
I believe there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also always willing 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 building so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally have not had access.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics related to accelerating a fair and just shift to a sustainable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his know-how and track record of producing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping change neighborhoods and their effect 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 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 two turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas costs. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For approximately 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 distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick to you. I do not care what happens the rest of your profession or what your quality of life is moving forward; those minutes are with you forever. As I discuss that with different groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
The 2nd essential minute was probably 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things around the world. Individuals were coming in to ask for an investment around renewable energy, and I posed a concern to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is magnificent, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that aid everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the everyday individuals. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families often reside in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to contact private households and the expense of getting those people educated and after that subscribing to renewable energy is not a beneficial organization design.” 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 quit my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my business. Since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. So whatever is I do is targeted to families in those situations and concentrated on enhancing their lifestyle
So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is amazing. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big offer. Were currently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods deserve investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
We are likewise always prepared to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had access. Im constantly difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with absolutely various point of views. I love the networking.
I think 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 difference.
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone. Thats what my mission is, and thankfully we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new locations this fall