Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a current success story.
We just recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be building a $30 million, completely affordable and completely sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 property systems, a coffee shop, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What impact are you making?
I think there is constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our business. Even in our own communities, individuals just cant believe it. To me, thats quite fulfilling. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is crucial is we have a financial effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty effective message. That amount of money impacts the budget plan of everyday families
What obstacles do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning a company, any business, was going to be tough. With that stated, 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 wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks dont want to invest; they do not wish to partner; they dont wish to do their share. It is a fight of generational size that Im trying to combat here, and weve made very small, incremental development. I think the lesson is that coalition structure is essential. My voice just indicates 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
So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. Stabilizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can potential partners work with you?
Today, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, use financial obligation or buy some tax credits, thats the very first ask. If they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities, we are likewise always ready to host people. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host people when a week at our building so they can see the technology that were using in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to. We are likewise going to be expanding our board. Because I think that has genuine value, Im always tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about people with completely various viewpoints. I enjoy 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 constantly a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. We are likewise always willing to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host people once a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access.
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, regions you run in, main customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all households, everybody needs to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo 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 features industry leaders and subjects associated with speeding up a fair and just transition to an eco-friendly energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are thriving in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, 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 knowledge and track record of developing consistent returns with an individual passion for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was called 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 start your business?
I had two essential moments that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we could not afford the gas bill. And so, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat shut off. For approximately 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 difficult times, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving forward; those minutes are with you permanently. As I discuss that with various groups around the nation, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of individuals have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
The 2nd turning point was probably 15 years back, as I was working for a firm that was buying a host of things around the globe. People were can be found in to request an investment around renewable energy, and I postured a question to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is magnificent, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that help everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying a disproportionate quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income families frequently reside in multi-family structures, and it is tough to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to call specific households and the cost of getting those people informed and then signing up for renewable resource is not a beneficial organization design.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the market forever. I quit my job. I think I kipped down my resignation within six months of that conversation, and I began my company. I named it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up. So whatever is I do is targeted to families in those situations and concentrated on enhancing their quality of life