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 spaces together so everybody can share notes is always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak straight with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can also be a big deal. Were currently working on a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can prospective partners do service with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, provide financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are likewise always ready to host individuals if they wish to see a few of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had gain access to. We are also going to be expanding our board. Im always tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has real worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about people with completely different viewpoints. I enjoy 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 huge distinction.
Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all households, everybody must have access. Someone, some entity, needs to function as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and fortunately we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some brand-new places this fall
I believe there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are also constantly prepared to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation includes industry leaders and subjects connected to speeding up an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his expertise and track record of creating constant returns with a personal passion for helping change neighborhoods and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas shift to a tidy economy.
LEARNT 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 two critical minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas costs, and she was just making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not pay for the gas bill. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat turned off. For around a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and bring it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I do not care what happens the rest of your profession or what your quality of life is progressing; those minutes are with you permanently. As I talk about that with various groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not a great thing
The 2nd turning point was most likely 15 years earlier, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things all over the world. People were coming in to request an investment around renewable energy, and I posed a concern to them: “What you are finishing with these solar firms is amazing, and the expense of solar is boiling down, however how does that assistance everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their income on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households frequently reside in multi-family structures, and it is difficult to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to call specific families and the cost of getting those individuals educated and then registering for renewable resource is not a beneficial service model.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. So I stopped my task. I think I kipped down my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I began my company. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the general public housing where I matured. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those situations and concentrated on improving their quality of life
Share with us a recent success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, totally budget-friendly and entirely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a coffee bar, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is crucial is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. That amount of cash effects the budget plan of daily households
What challenges do you face? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting an organization, any service, was going to be challenging. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not want to invest; they do not desire to partner; they dont wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to eliminate here, and weve made extremely small, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that coalition structure is necessary. My voice just indicates so much, however the more I can bring pals to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need