Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you run in, main consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all families, everyone should have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, needs to act as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and luckily we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new areas this fall
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, entirely cost effective and totally sustainable advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic systems, a coffee shop, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
When individuals discover who is behind our company, I think there is always a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant believe it. To me, thats quite gratifying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is very important is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. Were intending to cut utility costs for households in half. Thats a big offer, you know. That quantity of cash impacts the budget plan of daily families
What difficulties do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that union building is important.
So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a chance to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is incredible. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were currently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing beside us and saying “these communities deserve financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly trying to find partners to invest, offer debt or buy some tax credits, thats the very first ask. We are also always going to host individuals if they wish to see a few of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not proprietary; its an open book. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically have not had gain access to. We are also going to be expanding our board. Im constantly difficult magnates to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been terrific simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering people with completely various point of views. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Simply knowing that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes industry leaders and subjects related to accelerating a fair and just 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 sustainable energy 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 property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his proficiency and track record of developing consistent returns with a personal passion for helping transform communities 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 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 company?
I had 2 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas costs, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas bill. And so, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut off. For approximately a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and carry it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely hard times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I dont care what happens the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is moving forward; those moments are with you permanently. As I speak about that with different groups around the country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the everyday people. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my business. I named it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.
I think there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are likewise constantly ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically havent had gain access to.