Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.

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 features industry leaders and subjects related to speeding up a fair and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business 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 financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and track record of developing consistent returns with a personal passion for assisting transform neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact on Americas transition to a tidy 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 business?
I had 2 critical minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. Therefore, sadly, 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 hard times, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I dont care what takes place 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 anomaly. A great deal of individuals have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an excellent thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday individuals. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up.

Share with us a current success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, completely budget-friendly and totally sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential units, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What impact are you making?
When people discover who is behind our business, I believe there is constantly a shock. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it. To me, thats pretty fulfilling. Individuals seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is important is we have an economic impact that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That quantity of cash effects the budget plan of daily families
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any service, was going to be difficult. With that said, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks dont desire to invest; they dont desire to partner; they do not desire to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made very little, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union building is necessary. My voice just means so much, but the more I can bring good friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement

Tell us about your company? (objective, partners, areas you run in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.

I believe there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are also always prepared to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology 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 neighborhoods that historically have not had access.

What can companies 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. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthy of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners work with you?
We are likewise always ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that traditionally havent had gain access to. Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I think that has genuine value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific simply to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with completely various viewpoints. I love the networking.
I believe we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Feeling in ones bones that it exists, and that ACORE is so deliberate about the program, makes a big distinction.