Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Share with us a current success story.
We just recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to reveal that we will be developing a $30 million, totally inexpensive and totally sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are developing 50 property systems, a cafe, an organization 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 constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, people simply cant believe it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with individuals, and its a pretty powerful message. That quantity of money impacts the budget plan of daily 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 communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I think the lesson is that union building is essential.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installation features market leaders and topics connected to speeding up a fair and simply transition to a renewable resource economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are flourishing in the sustainable 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 proficiency and performance history of creating constant returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their impact 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.
FOUND OUT 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 turning points that made me leap. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas bill, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we could not pay for the gas expense. Therefore, regrettably, we had our gas and heat shut down. For roughly a year in my teenagers, we needed to boil water and bring it up to a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were distinctively bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick to you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving on; those moments are with you forever. As I discuss that with various groups around the nation, it has become clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
The second critical minute was most likely 15 years ago, as I was working for a firm that was investing in a host of things worldwide. Individuals were being available in to request an investment around renewable resource, and I postured a question to them: “What you are doing with these solar firms is incredible, and the cost of solar is coming down, but how does that help daily individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying an out of proportion amount of their earnings on energy.” They looked confused that I would even dare ask about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households typically 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 individuals educated and then signing up for sustainable energy is not a beneficial business model.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate advancement and the solar?” And they stated, whoever does that is going to change the market permanently. So I stopped my job. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I began my business. Since that is the system number in the public real estate where I grew up, I named it 548 Capital. Everything is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life
So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in spaces together so everybody can share notes is always valuable. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners do service with you?
We are also always 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 innovation that were using in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had access. Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has real value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been excellent just to meet the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with completely different perspectives. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, regions you operate in, primary clients, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone needs to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, needs to function as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody. Thats what my objective is, and thankfully we are growing. We are currently headquartered in Chicago, but we will be revealing some brand-new places this fall
I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are also always prepared to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had gain access to.