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 important. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, use debt or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are likewise constantly happy to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically have not had gain access to. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Because I think that has genuine value, Im constantly difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent just to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about people with completely different viewpoints. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge distinction.
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise always ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically havent had access.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features industry leaders and subjects related to accelerating a fair and just transition to a sustainable energy 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 finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and track record of creating consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping change communities and their effect 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 2 critical minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas costs. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
The 2nd critical minute was most likely 15 years earlier, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things around the world. Individuals were can be found in to request for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I positioned a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is amazing, and the expense of solar is coming down, however how does that assistance everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families frequently reside in multi-family structures, and it is hard to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to contact individual households and the expense of getting those people informed and then subscribing to renewable resource is not a beneficial organization design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace permanently. So I quit my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I began my company. 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 circumstances and focused on enhancing their quality of life
Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, entirely sustainable and completely economical advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential units, a coffee bar, 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 believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. That amount of cash impacts the budget of daily households
What obstacles do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were constructing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that coalition building is crucial.
Inform us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you run in, main customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody needs to have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.