Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners work with you?
Right now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, offer financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities, we are likewise always prepared to host individuals. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had gain access to. We are likewise going to be broadening our board. Since I believe that has real worth, Im always challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering individuals with totally various perspectives. I like 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.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features industry leaders and subjects related to accelerating an equitable and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and track record of creating constant returns with a personal passion for helping transform communities 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 tidy economy.
READ 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 two essential moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we couldnt pay for the gas costs. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut off. For approximately a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and bring it up to 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 moving on; those moments are with you forever. As I speak about that with different groups around the nation, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, whichs not a good idea
They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the daily people. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my business. I called it 548 Capital because that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up.
Share with us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally cost effective and entirely sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic units, a cafe, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it.
The other thing that I think is important is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. Were intending to cut energy expenses for families in half. Thats a big deal, you know. That amount of cash effects the budget plan of daily households
What difficulties do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were developing 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. I believe the lesson is that union structure is essential.
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also constantly prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically have not had gain access to.
Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, areas you run in, primary customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available 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.