Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our projects. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthy of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do company with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, provide debt or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are likewise always prepared to host people if they want to see a few of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally have not had access. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Im always challenging magnates to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has real value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering about people with totally various point of views. I like the networking.
I think we are doing the very best 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 learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are also constantly ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals when a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using 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 pleased to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features market leaders and topics related to accelerating a fair and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving 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 real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his expertise and performance history of producing constant returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence 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 company?
I had 2 essential minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was just making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas costs. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the daily people. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my business. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public housing where I grew up.
Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and totally economical advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential units, a coffee store, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That amount of money impacts the spending plan of daily households
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a business, any service, was going to be challenging. With that said, access to capital is ungodly challenging. When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks dont desire to invest; they dont wish to partner; they do not desire to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made very small, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that coalition structure is necessary. My voice only suggests so much, but the more I can bring pals to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody must have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.