What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do business with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always looking for partners to invest, use 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 also always willing to host people. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host people once a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically have not had gain access to. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Im always difficult leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has real worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with absolutely different viewpoints. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.
Share with us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and completely affordable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic units, a cafe, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. That quantity of cash effects the spending plan of daily families
What challenges do you face? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a service, any service, was going to be hard. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and state that were building sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks dont wish to invest; they dont want to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made very little, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that union structure is very important. My voice just means a lot, however the more I can bring pals to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
Tell us about your company? (objective, partners, regions you operate in, main clients, etc.).
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 act as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone. Thats what my objective is, and fortunately we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some brand-new areas this fall
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment includes market leaders and subjects associated with speeding up a fair and simply shift to a sustainable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are thriving in the renewable resource 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. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his knowledge and track record of developing constant returns with a personal passion for assisting transform neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas shift to a clean economy.
LEARNT 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 essential moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas expense, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we couldnt afford the gas expense. And so, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and bring it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely hard times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I do not care what takes place the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is moving forward; those moments are with you permanently. As I talk about that with various groups around the nation, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a great thing
The 2nd pivotal minute was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things around the globe. Individuals were can be found in to ask for a financial investment around renewable energy, and I posed a question to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is amazing, and the expense of solar is coming down, however how does that aid daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare inquire about the everyday individuals. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families typically reside in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you need to call specific households and the expense of getting those individuals informed and then registering for renewable resource is not a favorable business design.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. So I stopped my job. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I started my business. Because that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their lifestyle
I think there is always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also always ready to host people if they desire 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 technology that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had gain access to.