Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
I think there is constantly a shock when people discover 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 constantly important. We are likewise always prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features market leaders and topics associated with speeding up a fair and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving in the eco-friendly energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade 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 producing consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact on Americas shift 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 start your company?
I had two pivotal moments 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 afford the gas bill. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut down. For approximately a year in my teens, we had to boil water and carry it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively difficult times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what happens the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is moving forward; those minutes are with you forever. As I talk about that with various groups around the nation, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A great deal of individuals have similar anecdotes, whichs not a good thing
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 started my company. I named it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.
Share with us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, completely budget-friendly and completely sustainable development, in partnership 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 expand solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is important is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. That quantity of cash impacts the budget plan of daily households
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting an organization, any business, was going to be tough. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly challenging. 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 incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks dont wish to invest; they do not wish to partner; they dont want to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im attempting to fight here, and weve made really little, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that coalition structure is necessary. My voice just suggests so much, however the more I can bring good friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, primary consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations 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 technologies reach everybody.
What can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners work with you?
We are also constantly willing to host people if they want 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 innovation that were using in communities that historically havent had gain access to. Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I think that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to meet the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering individuals with totally various viewpoints. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge distinction.