Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do service with you?
We are also always ready to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had access. Im always difficult top executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to meet the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with completely different point of views. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are likewise constantly ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically have not had gain access to.
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you run in, main customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.
Share with us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally budget friendly and totally sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential units, a coffeehouse, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
When individuals discover who is behind our business, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. To me, thats quite rewarding. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. That amount of cash impacts the spending plan of everyday families
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any business, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly challenging. When I go to banks and state that were constructing sustainable housing 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 dont wish to invest; they do not want to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made extremely little, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union building is very important. My voice only implies a lot, but the more I can bring buddies to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation features market leaders and topics associated with speeding up a fair and just transition to a sustainable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the sustainable energy 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 property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his know-how and performance history of producing constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping change neighborhoods and their effect 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 company?
I had 2 essential moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas costs. And so, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and bring it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick to you. I do not care what happens the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is progressing; those moments are with you permanently. As I talk about that with different groups around the country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a good idea
The 2nd essential minute was probably 15 years earlier, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things worldwide. Individuals were can be found in to request a financial investment around renewable energy, and I posed a concern to them: “What you are finishing with these solar companies is amazing, and the cost of solar is coming down, however how does that help everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their income on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the daily people. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households often live in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to call individual households and the cost of getting those people informed and after that signing up for renewable energy is not a favorable business model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. So I quit my task. I believe I kipped down my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. Because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their lifestyle