I believe there is always a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that historically havent had access.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and subjects connected to accelerating a fair and simply transition to a sustainable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are prospering in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his know-how and performance history of producing consistent returns with a personal passion for helping transform communities and their influence on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence on Americas transition to a tidy economy.
CHECKED 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 essential moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas expense, and she was just making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas expense. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The 2nd critical minute was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things worldwide. Individuals were being available in to ask for an investment around renewable resource, and I postured a concern to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is incredible, and the cost of solar is boiling down, but how does that assistance daily individuals?” 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 inquire about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families often live in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to call specific families and the expense of getting those people informed and after that signing up for sustainable energy is not a favorable organization design.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing development and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the market permanently. I stopped my task. I believe I kipped down my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. Since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life
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 constantly important. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners work with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are always trying to find partners to invest, offer financial obligation or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods, we are also always willing to host people. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had access. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Im constantly difficult 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 great simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering individuals with absolutely different point of views. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
Inform us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, main consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody should have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.
Show us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be developing a $30 million, totally economical and totally sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 residential systems, a cafe, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have an economic impact that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That quantity of cash impacts the budget of daily households
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a company, any service, was going to be challenging. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks do not want to invest; they dont wish to partner; they do not want to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made really small, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union structure is essential. My voice just indicates a lot, however the more I can bring good friends to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement