I think there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, people just cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are also constantly prepared to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in communities that traditionally havent had access.
So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak straight with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. If there are nationwide corporations that can support our work that can also be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a collaboration with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods deserve financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do service with you?
We are also constantly willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that historically have not had access. Im constantly challenging top executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I believe that has real value
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been terrific simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with totally various perspectives. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the 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.
Show us a recent success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, completely inexpensive and entirely sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 property systems, a coffee store, a service center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
When people learn who is behind our business, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant think it. To me, thats pretty satisfying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a quite powerful message. Were aiming to cut utility costs for families in half. Thats a huge offer, you understand. That quantity of cash impacts the budget of everyday families
What challenges do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that starting a company, any organization, was going to be challenging. With that said, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks dont wish to invest; they do not 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 really small, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is very important. My voice only indicates so much, but the more I can bring buddies to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and subjects related to accelerating an equitable and just 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 prospering in the eco-friendly energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his knowledge and performance history of producing constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his influence 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 business?
I had two critical moments that made me jump. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas expense, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas costs. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
The 2nd turning point was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was purchasing a host of things all over the world. Individuals were coming in to ask for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I posed a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is spectacular, and the expense of solar is coming down, but how does that assistance daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday individuals. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households typically live in multi-family buildings, and it is tough to get in contact with those building owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to contact specific families and the expense of getting those individuals informed and after that subscribing to renewable resource is not a favorable service design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to alter the marketplace permanently. I stopped my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my company. I called it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the general public real estate where I grew up. So whatever is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios 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 innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everyone should have access. Someone, some entity, needs to work as the bridge so that those innovations reach everyone. Thats what my mission is, and thankfully we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new locations this fall