Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you run in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everyone ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone.
So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge deal. Were currently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities deserve financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are likewise constantly ready to host individuals 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 applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access. Im constantly challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering individuals with totally different viewpoints. I enjoy 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 huge distinction.
I believe there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are likewise constantly willing to host people if they want 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 applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had access.
Share with us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, totally cost effective and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property systems, a cafe, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it. To me, thats quite gratifying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is important is we have an economic effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. That quantity of cash impacts the budget of everyday households
What difficulties do you face? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any service, was going to be difficult. With that said, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable housing 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 dont wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made extremely little, incremental development. I believe the lesson is that coalition structure is necessary. My voice only means a lot, however the more I can bring good friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation features market leaders and subjects associated with speeding up an equitable and just shift to a sustainable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his competence and performance history of creating constant returns with a personal passion for assisting transform neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. 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.
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 essential moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we could not pay for the gas expense. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut down. For approximately a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and bring it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what takes place the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is progressing; those minutes are with you permanently. As I speak about that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a good thing
They looked confused that I would even attempt ask about the everyday individuals. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I began my business. I named it 548 Capital because that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up.