Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
What can organizations 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 constantly valuable. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do service with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always searching for partners to invest, use financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are likewise always ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. 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 applying in communities that historically havent had gain access to. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Im always tough magnates to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with completely various point of views. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just knowing that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment features market leaders and topics associated with speeding up an equitable and simply shift to a renewable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are thriving in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and track record of creating constant returns with an individual passion for assisting transform neighborhoods and their influence 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 clean economy.
FOUND 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 two pivotal minutes that made me jump. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas bill. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not a good thing
The second turning point was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was purchasing a host of things around the world. People were being available in to request a financial investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is amazing, and the expense of solar is boiling down, but how does that assistance everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the daily people. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families typically live in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to get in touch with private families and the cost of getting those individuals informed and then registering for renewable resource is not a beneficial company model.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace forever. I stopped my task. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my company. Since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Whatever is I do is targeted to households in those circumstances and focused on enhancing their quality of life
Share with us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally cost effective and totally sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 property units, a coffee bar, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant believe it. To me, thats pretty rewarding. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. That amount of cash impacts the budget plan of daily households
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a business, any organization, was going to be hard. With that said, access to capital is ungodly challenging. 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 neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they do not desire to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made very little, incremental development. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is important. My voice only implies a lot, but the more I can bring buddies to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you run in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everyone should have access. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are likewise constantly willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in communities that historically havent had access.