Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Share with us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, completely inexpensive and entirely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 property systems, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it. To me, thats quite gratifying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. That amount of cash effects the budget of daily households
What difficulties do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a business, any company, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks dont want to invest; they do not wish to partner; they dont want to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to fight here, and weve made extremely small, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union structure is very important. My voice only suggests a lot, but the more I can bring friends to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners work with you?
We are likewise constantly willing to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that historically have not had access. Im always difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering about people with totally various perspectives. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. 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 also constantly willing to host people 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 innovation that were using in communities that historically havent had gain access to.
Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you run in, main clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody needs to have access. Someone, some entity, needs to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and thankfully we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some new locations this fall
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image 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 series.
Each installment includes industry leaders and subjects connected to accelerating an equitable and just shift to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and track record of developing constant returns with a personal enthusiasm for helping transform neighborhoods and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a clean 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 critical minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we couldnt pay for the gas expense. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
They looked confused that I would even attempt ask about the daily individuals. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I began my company. I named it 548 Capital because that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up.