Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Share with us a recent success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to reveal that we will be building a $30 million, totally budget-friendly and entirely sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 property units, a coffee bar, 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 always a shock when people learn who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have an economic impact that resonates with people, and its a pretty powerful message. Were intending to cut energy expenditures for families in half. Thats a huge offer, you understand. That quantity of cash impacts the budget plan of everyday families
What obstacles do you deal with? Why?
When I go to banks and state that were building sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. I believe the lesson is that coalition structure is crucial.
So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is always important. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these neighborhoods are worthy of financial investment”– you cant put a worth on that
How can potential partners work with you?
We are also constantly ready to host people if they want 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 innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had access. Im constantly challenging leading executives to put their name and face on these efforts due to the fact that I believe that has genuine value
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been fantastic just to fulfill the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering individuals with totally various perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I believe we are doing the 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 huge difference.
I think there is constantly a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own communities, individuals simply cant think it. Putting people in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly valuable. We are also always ready to host people if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that traditionally havent had gain access to.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the 3rd installation in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog series.
Each installment features market leaders and subjects related to accelerating a fair and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member companies are flourishing in the renewable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a financing, sales, and capital markets professional with more than a decade of experience in investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to combine his proficiency and track record of developing consistent returns with an individual passion for assisting change neighborhoods and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas shift to a clean economy.
LEARNT 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 2 essential minutes that made me leap. In 1999, my mom received a $400 gas bill, and she was just making 10 dollars an hour, so we couldnt manage the gas bill. Therefore, unfortunately, we had our gas and heat turned off. For around a year in my teenagers, we had to boil water and bring it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that simply stick to you. I dont care what takes place the rest of your career or what your quality of life is moving on; those moments are with you forever. As I talk about that with various groups around the nation, it has become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, whichs not an advantage
The 2nd pivotal moment was probably 15 years earlier, as I was working for a firm that was purchasing a host of things around the globe. People were coming in to request an investment around eco-friendly energy, and I presented a concern to them: “What you are making with these solar companies is spectacular, and the cost of solar is coming down, however how does that help everyday individuals?” I asked, “Where are they in your formula? Where is their access? They are paying a disproportionate amount of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare inquire about the everyday people. They said, “Well, you know, low- and moderate-income families often live in multi-family structures, and it is hard to get in contact with those constructing owners. If you can not get in contact with the structure owners, you have to contact individual households and the expense of getting those individuals informed and after that signing up for eco-friendly energy is not a beneficial company model.” I asked, “What if I owned the real estate development and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to change the marketplace permanently. So I stopped my job. I believe I kipped down my resignation within 6 months of that conversation, and I started my business. I named it 548 Capital because that is the system number in the public real estate where I matured. Whatever is I do is targeted to households in those scenarios and focused on enhancing their quality of life
Tell us about your company? (mission, partners, areas you operate in, main customers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations available for all: all communities, all families, everyone ought to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.