Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Inform us about your business? (mission, partners, areas you run in, main clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody ought to have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and luckily we are growing. We are presently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be announcing some new locations this fall
Share with us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, completely sustainable and entirely budget-friendly advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 residential systems, a cafe, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will expand solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
When people learn who is behind our business, I think there is always a shock. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it. To me, thats pretty gratifying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is crucial is we have a financial effect that resonates with people, and its a pretty effective message. That amount of money effects the budget of daily families
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a business, any company, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly hard. When I go to banks and say that were constructing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the incorrect language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks dont wish to invest; they do not want to partner; they dont want to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made very little, incremental progress. I believe the lesson is that union structure is essential. My voice just means so much, but the more I can bring friends to the table and magnify that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need
So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are deserving of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can possible partners work 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 people once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had access. Im constantly challenging leading 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 excellent simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about people with totally various point of views. I like 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 intentional about the program, makes a big distinction.
I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. We are also constantly willing to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is pleased to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installment includes market leaders and topics connected to speeding up an equitable and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are growing in the eco-friendly energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets expert with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his knowledge and performance history of creating constant returns with an individual passion for assisting transform 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.
READ 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 two essential minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was just making ten dollars an hour, so we could not manage the gas bill. Therefore, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For around a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and carry it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively difficult times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I do not care what happens the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving forward; those moments are with you permanently. As I discuss that with various groups around the country, it has actually ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
The second turning point was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things all over the world. People were can be found in to request for a financial investment around renewable resource, and I positioned a concern to them: “What you are finishing with these solar companies is spectacular, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that assistance everyday individuals?” 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 dare ask about the everyday individuals. They stated, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income households frequently live in multi-family structures, and it is difficult to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you need to get in touch with individual families and the expense of getting those individuals informed and after that signing up for renewable energy is not a beneficial business design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. I quit my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I started my business. Since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up, I called it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to families in those scenarios and focused on improving their quality of life