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

Show us a current success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, entirely sustainable and completely inexpensive advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 residential units, a cafe, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
When individuals discover who is behind our business, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. Individuals 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 pretty powerful message. That amount of money effects the budget plan of everyday households
What challenges do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is important.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes industry leaders and subjects associated with speeding up a fair and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are thriving in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, 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 proficiency and performance history of creating consistent returns with a personal passion for helping change neighborhoods and their impact 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 clean 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 2 critical minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas expense, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
The 2nd turning point was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things all over the world. Individuals were can be found in to request a financial investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is magnificent, and the cost of solar is boiling down, however how does that help everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt inquire about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families frequently live in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to call specific households and the expense of getting those people informed and then signing up for renewable resource is not a favorable service model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace permanently. So I stopped my job. I believe I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I began my business. Because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life

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 important. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do company with you?
We are likewise constantly willing to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that traditionally havent had gain access to. Im always tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with completely different perspectives. I like the networking.
I believe we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge difference.

I think there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are also always prepared to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically have not had gain access to.

Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you operate in, main clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to function as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and luckily we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, however we will be announcing some new locations this fall