Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, entirely sustainable and entirely cost effective advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffee store, a company 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 always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is very important is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were intending to cut utility costs for families in half. Thats a big offer, you understand. That quantity of cash impacts the budget of daily households
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any company, was going to be tough. With that said, 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 take a look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not want to invest; they dont wish to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made really little, incremental development. I think the lesson is that union structure is essential. My voice only means a lot, however the more I can bring friends to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need
Inform us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, primary customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone ought to have access. Somebody, some entity, needs to function as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and luckily we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be revealing some brand-new places this fall
What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners do business with you?
We are likewise constantly willing to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that historically have not had gain access to. Im constantly tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with totally various viewpoints. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.
I think there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are also constantly ready to host individuals if they desire 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 communities that historically have not had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment includes market leaders and subjects associated with speeding up a fair and simply shift to a sustainable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the eco-friendly 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 realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and performance history of creating consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform communities and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a tidy 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 minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I began my company. I named it 548 Capital because that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up.