Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.

Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone ought to have access. Somebody, some entity, needs to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and fortunately we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be revealing some brand-new locations this fall

So 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 always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is incredible. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can also be a big offer. Were currently working on a collaboration with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do company with you?
Today, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly trying to find partners to invest, provide financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities, we are likewise constantly ready to host people. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had gain access to. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Because I think that has real value, Im constantly tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific just to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with absolutely different point of views. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment features industry leaders and subjects related to speeding up a fair and just transition to a renewable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and track record of creating constant returns with a personal passion for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect 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 start your company?
I had 2 pivotal moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas bill, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas expense. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teens, we needed to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I do not care what takes place the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving on; those moments are with you permanently. As I talk about that with different groups around the nation, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, whichs not a good idea
They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the daily people. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up.

I believe there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are also always prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access.

Show us a recent success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally sustainable and entirely budget friendly development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic systems, a coffeehouse, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
When individuals learn who is behind our company, I think there is always a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is important is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. That quantity of money effects the spending plan of daily families
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a company, any service, was going to be tough. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and state that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a 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 want to partner; they dont desire to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to eliminate here, and weve made extremely little, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union structure is very important. My voice just implies a lot, however the more I can bring buddies to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement