Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, totally sustainable and completely budget-friendly development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property units, a cafe, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
I believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is crucial is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. Were intending to cut energy costs for households in half. Thats a huge deal, you understand. That amount of money effects the spending plan of everyday families
What challenges do you face? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were constructing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that union structure is essential.
I think there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are also always willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that traditionally havent had access.
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you operate in, main clients, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all families, everybody needs to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features market leaders and subjects related to speeding up a fair and just shift to a renewable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional 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 developing consistent returns with a personal passion for assisting change communities and their influence on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a clean economy.
CHECKED 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 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas bill. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat turned off. For approximately a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and bring it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick with you. I dont care what takes place the rest of your career or what your lifestyle is progressing; those moments are with you forever. As I speak about that with different groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a good idea
The 2nd essential minute was most likely 15 years earlier, as I was working for a company that was purchasing a host of things all over the world. People were can be found in to request for an investment around renewable resource, and I postured a concern to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is magnificent, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that help everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion amount of their income on energy.” They looked confused that I would even attempt ask about the everyday individuals. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households frequently reside in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to contact specific families and the expense of getting those individuals informed and then registering for renewable resource is not a beneficial service model.” I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the market permanently. So I quit my job. I think I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I started my business. Because that is the unit 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 scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life
What can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak straight with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is magnificent. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a big deal. Were presently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our jobs. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are worthy of investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners do business with you?
We are likewise always prepared to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that historically have not had access. Im always challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great simply to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I learned a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and learning more about people with absolutely different perspectives. I enjoy 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 big distinction.