Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Share with us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, entirely sustainable and totally economical development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic systems, a coffee store, an organization 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 people learn who lags our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. To me, thats pretty rewarding. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is necessary is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. Were intending to cut energy expenditures for families in half. Thats a big offer, you understand. That quantity of money impacts the budget plan of everyday families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a company, any service, was going to be hard. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they 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 wish to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made really small, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union building is very important. My voice just implies a lot, but the more I can bring good friends to the table and amplify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
Inform us about your business? (objective, partners, regions 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, everyone should have access. Someone, some entity, needs to work as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and thankfully we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new places this fall
So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is amazing. Then, if there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were currently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Normalizing direct exposure, standing beside us and saying “these communities are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can prospective partners do organization with you?
We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals when a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had gain access to. Im always difficult leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I believe that has genuine worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been fantastic simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about people with absolutely various point of views. I like the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge difference.
I believe there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise constantly willing 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 structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally have not had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo 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 installment includes industry leaders and subjects related to accelerating a fair and simply shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate 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 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.
FOUND OUT 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 2 essential minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. And so, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut off. For approximately a year in my teens, we needed to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively difficult times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what happens the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is progressing; those minutes are with you forever. As I talk about that with different groups around the nation, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily individuals. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I began my business. I called it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.