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

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture 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 site series.
Each installation includes industry leaders and subjects connected to accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment 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 financial investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his know-how and track record of producing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting transform communities 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 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 business?
I had two critical minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas bill. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent 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 conversation, and I started my company. I named it 548 Capital because that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up.

I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are also constantly prepared to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically have not had gain access to.

Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody needs to have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and fortunately we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some brand-new areas this fall

Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally sustainable and completely inexpensive development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property systems, a coffee shop, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is necessary is we have a financial effect that resonates with individuals, and its a quite powerful message. Were intending to cut energy expenditures for households in half. Thats a big deal, you know. That amount of money effects the budget plan of everyday families
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
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 incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that union building is essential.

What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak straight with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities deserve financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
We are also always ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation 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 communities that traditionally have not had gain access to. Im always tough 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 terrific simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering individuals with totally different viewpoints. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.