Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.

Show us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally economical and totally sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential units, a cafe, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a quite powerful message. That amount of cash effects the spending plan of daily households
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a business, any business, was going to be hard. With that said, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not want to invest; they do not wish to partner; they dont wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made very small, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union building is necessary. My voice only means a lot, however the more I can bring friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need

So what can organizations 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 constantly valuable. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners work 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 once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to. Im constantly tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific just 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 love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a huge difference.

Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you operate in, main consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible 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 innovations reach everybody.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes industry leaders and subjects associated with accelerating an equitable and just transition to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering 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 investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and track record of producing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for helping transform communities and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition to a tidy economy.
CHECKED 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 critical minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not pay for the gas costs. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.

I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are also always willing to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access.