Inform us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you run in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies available for all: all communities, all households, everyone must have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to work as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and thankfully we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some new locations this fall
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation features industry leaders and topics connected to speeding up an equitable and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are thriving in the eco-friendly energy 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. established 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and track record of creating constant returns with an individual passion for assisting change communities and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was called a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition 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 begin your company?
I had 2 essential moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas costs, and she was only making 10 dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas costs. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The second critical minute was probably 15 years ago, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things around the globe. People were can be found in to request for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I positioned a question to them: “What you are making with these solar firms is spectacular, and the expense of solar is boiling down, however how does that help everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their earnings on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt inquire about the everyday individuals. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families often reside in multi-family buildings, and it is difficult to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to contact private families and the expense of getting those individuals informed and after that registering for renewable resource is not a favorable company design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace forever. So I stopped my job. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my company. I named it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I matured. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those circumstances and focused on improving their quality of life
Share with us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, completely sustainable and completely budget-friendly advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic systems, a cafe, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
I think there is always a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people simply cant think it.
The other thing that I think is necessary is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. Were intending to cut energy costs for households in half. Thats a big offer, you know. That quantity of money impacts the budget plan of everyday families
What challenges do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable real estate 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 building is crucial.
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 always valuable. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are deserving of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners do company with you?
Now, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly searching for partners to invest, provide debt or purchase some tax credits, thats the very first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities, we are likewise constantly ready to host people. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically havent had gain access to. We are also going to be expanding our board. Due to the fact that I believe that has real worth, Im always challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been great just to fulfill the other Accelerate member business. I discovered a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with absolutely various perspectives. I love the networking.
I think 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.
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are likewise constantly ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that historically have not had gain access to.