Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. We are also always willing to host individuals if they desire 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 technology that were applying in neighborhoods that historically havent had access.
Share with us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, entirely inexpensive and completely sustainable development, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic units, a coffeehouse, 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 business, I think there is constantly a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant believe it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is important is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a quite powerful message. Were aiming to cut energy expenditures for families in half. Thats a huge offer, you know. That amount of cash impacts the spending plan of everyday families
What difficulties do you deal with? 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 neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that union structure is essential.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image 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 market leaders and subjects related to speeding up a fair and simply shift to a sustainable energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are growing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his knowledge and track record of creating consistent returns with a personal enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their impact on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition to a tidy economy.
LEARNT 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 mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas bill. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and carry it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely hard times, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what occurs the rest of your profession or what your quality of life is moving on; those moments are with you permanently. As I speak about that with different groups around the country, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not a good idea
The 2nd turning point was most likely 15 years earlier, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things around the world. People were can be found in to ask for a financial investment around sustainable energy, and I posed a concern to them: “What you are finishing with these solar companies is spectacular, and the cost of solar is coming down, however how does that aid daily people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily people. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families often live in multi-family structures, and it is difficult to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to get in touch with private families and the cost of getting those individuals informed and after that registering for renewable energy is not a beneficial business model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the market forever. So I quit my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I began my business. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public housing where I matured. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those situations and focused on enhancing their quality of life
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you run in, primary customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all families, everyone ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody.
So 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 always valuable. Normalizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do service with you?
We are likewise constantly prepared to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to. Im always tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has real worth
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great just to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering about people with totally various point of views. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, which ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big difference.