Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be building a $30 million, totally economical and entirely sustainable advancement, in partnership with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 property systems, a coffeehouse, an organization center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
When people discover who is behind our business, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own communities, people just cant think it. To me, thats pretty fulfilling. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I believe is important is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That amount of money impacts the budget plan of everyday households
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition building is crucial.
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 installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation includes market leaders and topics associated with speeding up an equitable and just shift to an eco-friendly energy economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the renewable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and genuine estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his know-how and performance history of developing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the planet. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift 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 begin your company?
I had 2 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mother got a $400 gas bill, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas costs. And so, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut off. For roughly a year in my teens, we had to boil water and carry it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively tough times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I dont care what happens the rest of your profession or what your quality of life is moving on; those minutes are with you forever. As I discuss that with different groups around the nation, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an excellent thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. I think I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my business. I named it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.
I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals simply cant believe it. Putting people in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are also constantly ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that historically havent had gain access to.
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 always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had an opportunity to speak directly with bankers and tax credit syndicators which is incredible. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a big deal. Were currently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is contributing about $1,000,000 worth of materials to support our tasks. Normalizing exposure, standing beside us and stating “these communities deserve investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners do company with you?
We are likewise constantly ready to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to. Im always tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts since I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been terrific just to meet the other Accelerate member companies. I discovered a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and learning more about individuals with completely various viewpoints. I like 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 difference.
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you operate in, main customers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all families, everybody must have gain access to. Somebody, some entity, needs to function as the bridge so that those innovations reach everybody. Thats what my mission is, and fortunately we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some new areas this fall