Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, entirely economical and totally sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 residential systems, a coffeehouse, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That amount of money effects the budget of daily families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that union building is essential.
Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, areas you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all households, everybody ought to have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.
So what can companies 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 saying “these communities are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners work with you?
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 individuals when a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had access. Im constantly tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering people with absolutely different perspectives. I like the networking.
I think we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.
I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise always prepared 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 havent had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics associated with accelerating an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the renewable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and track record of producing consistent returns with an individual passion for assisting transform communities and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact on Americas transition 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 begin your company?
I had 2 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas costs. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely tough times, and experiences like that simply stick with you. I do not care what takes place the rest of your career 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 become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, whichs not a good idea
The second essential minute was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things all over the world. Individuals were can be found in to request a financial investment around eco-friendly energy, and I posed a question to them: “What you are doing with these solar companies is incredible, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that help everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their income on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare inquire about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families often reside in multi-family structures, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to contact private households and the expense of getting those people educated and then registering for renewable resource is not a beneficial organization model.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to alter the market permanently. I stopped my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my business. I named it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and focused on improving their quality of life