Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Inform us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you operate in, primary customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody must have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone. Thats what my mission is, and fortunately we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new areas this fall
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics associated with accelerating an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the eco-friendly energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his proficiency and track record of creating consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift 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 begin your company?
I had two turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas expense, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. Therefore, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For roughly a year in my teens, we needed to boil water and bring it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively difficult times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is progressing; 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 anomaly. A great deal of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a good idea
They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the everyday individuals. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up.
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are likewise always prepared to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically havent had gain access to.
What can companies 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. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners do organization with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, use debt or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. If they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities, we are also always ready to host individuals. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally have not had access. We are also going to be expanding our board. Im constantly challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning about individuals with totally various point of views. I love the networking.
I believe 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 intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.
Show us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and totally cost effective development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential systems, a coffee bar, a company 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 constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. That quantity of money effects the budget plan of everyday families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were constructing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is important.