Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.

Tell us about your business? (mission, partners, regions you operate in, primary consumers, etc.).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all communities, all families, everybody should have access. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everybody.

By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features market leaders and topics connected to speeding up an equitable and just shift to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August functions highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member business are flourishing in the renewable resource sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and real estate analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his competence and performance history of developing constant returns with a personal passion for assisting transform communities 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 shift 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 pivotal minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making 10 bucks an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas expense. A lot of people have similar anecdotes, and thats not a great thing
They looked puzzled that I would even attempt ask about the daily individuals. I believe I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I started my business. I called it 548 Capital since that is the system number in the public housing where I grew up.

Share with 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, totally inexpensive and completely sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are building 50 domestic units, a coffee shop, a company center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered usage in the city
What effect are you making?
I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it.
The other thing that I believe is essential is we have a financial impact that resonates with people, and its a quite effective message. Were aiming to cut energy expenses for families in half. Thats a big offer, you know. That quantity of money effects the spending plan of everyday families
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and state 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. I think the lesson is that union building is essential.

What can organizations 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 worthwhile of investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are also constantly willing to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally have not had access. Im constantly tough leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has genuine value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great just to satisfy the other Accelerate member business. I found out a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and finding out about individuals with totally different point of views. 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, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a huge distinction.

I think there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant think it. Putting individuals in spaces together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are also always willing to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host people when a week at our structure so they can see the technology that were using in communities that historically havent had access.