Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are likewise constantly prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had gain access to.
Share with us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and totally affordable advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property units, a coffee bar, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have an economic impact that resonates with individuals, and its a quite effective message. That amount of cash effects the budget plan of daily households
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 neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that union building is crucial.
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 always important. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these neighborhoods are deserving of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can prospective partners do business with you?
We are also always prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to. Im constantly tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has real value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering people with completely various point of views. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics related to accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and performance history of producing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas transition to a tidy 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 bill, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we couldnt afford the gas costs. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut down. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and carry it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely tough times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I dont care what takes place the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving forward; those moments are with you permanently. As I speak about that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
They looked confused that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my company. I called it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody needs to have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.