So what can companies 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 constantly valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of products to support our jobs. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
We are also constantly ready to host individuals if they want 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 using in communities that traditionally have not had access. Im always challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has genuine 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 discussions with them in real-time, and learning about individuals with completely various perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had access.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features industry leaders and subjects connected to accelerating an equitable and just shift to an eco-friendly energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his know-how and performance history of producing constant returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change communities 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 transition 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 moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt pay for the gas expense. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The second turning point was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things around the globe. Individuals were coming in to request a financial investment around sustainable energy, and I postured a question to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is magnificent, and the expense 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 an out of proportion amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even attempt ask about the daily individuals. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households frequently reside in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to get in touch with private families and the cost of getting those individuals informed and then registering for eco-friendly energy is not a favorable business model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. So I quit my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the general public real estate where I grew up. Whatever is I do is targeted to households in those situations and focused on improving their quality of life
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you run in, primary clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone needs to have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.
Share with us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely budget-friendly and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 property systems, a cafe, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
I think there is always a shock when people discover who lags our business. Even in our own communities, people simply cant believe it. To me, thats quite rewarding. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is necessary is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were aiming to cut energy expenses for households in half. Thats a huge offer, you understand. That amount of money impacts the budget plan of daily households
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a business, any company, was going to be tough. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly challenging. When I go to banks and state that were constructing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they do not wish to partner; they do not desire to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to battle here, and weve made really little, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that union structure is necessary. My voice just means so much, however the more I can bring buddies to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need