Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
I think there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. 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 also constantly ready to host individuals if they desire 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 traditionally havent had access.
Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you operate in, main clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.
Show us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally budget friendly and entirely sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 property units, a cafe, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. To me, thats quite satisfying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is essential is we have an economic impact that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That amount of cash impacts the budget of everyday families
What difficulties do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that coalition building is important.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features industry leaders and subjects connected to speeding up an equitable and just shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering 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 investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and performance history of producing constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform neighborhoods and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was named 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 business?
I had 2 turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. Therefore, regrettably, we had our gas and heat turned off. For roughly a year in my teens, we needed to boil water and carry it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what occurs the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is moving forward; those moments are with you permanently. As I talk about that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of people have similar anecdotes, whichs not a good idea
The second turning point was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was investing in a host of things around the world. Individuals were can be found in to ask for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is spectacular, and the expense of solar is coming down, however how does that help everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their income on energy.” They looked confused that I would even attempt inquire about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families frequently reside in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to call individual households and the cost of getting those individuals educated and then signing up for renewable energy is not a beneficial business design.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. I quit my task. I believe I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up. Everything is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and focused on improving their quality of life
What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always important. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are worthy of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, provide financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods, we are likewise always prepared to host people. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had access. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Im constantly tough magnates to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has genuine value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great simply to meet the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering people with completely various viewpoints. I like the networking.
I think we are doing the best we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.