So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak directly with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge deal. Were presently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of products to support our projects. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing beside us and stating “these communities are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do business with you?
We are likewise always willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to. Im constantly difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and finding out about people with absolutely various viewpoints. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
Inform us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you operate in, main consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody must have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics connected to speeding up a fair and just shift to an eco-friendly energy 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 decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his know-how and track record of creating consistent returns with an individual passion for helping transform neighborhoods and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas transition 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 start your business?
I had 2 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt afford the gas bill. And so, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat turned off. For around a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and carry it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I do not 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 country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
The second turning point was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was purchasing a host of things around the world. People were coming in to request for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is amazing, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that assistance everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the daily people. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households often reside in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to get in touch with individual families and the expense of getting those individuals informed and then registering for eco-friendly energy is not a favorable service model.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace forever. So I stopped my task. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I started my business. Since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and concentrated on enhancing their quality of life
I think there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise always ready to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation 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 a press conference to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, entirely sustainable and totally budget friendly advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 residential systems, a cafe, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
When people discover who is behind our company, I believe there is constantly a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant believe it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. That amount of money effects the spending plan of daily families
What challenges do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a service, any business, was going to be challenging. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not desire to invest; they do not wish to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made extremely little, incremental development. I think the lesson is that union structure is important. My voice just means so much, but the more I can bring good friends to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement