Renewable Power Perspectives Q&A with Robert “A.J.” Patton, CEO of 548 Capital, LLC.
Show us a recent success story.
We recently signed up with Mayor Lightfoot for an interview to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, totally economical and entirely sustainable advancement, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic systems, a cafe, 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 believe there is always a shock when people discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it.
The other thing that I think is necessary is we have an economic effect that resonates with individuals, and its a quite effective message. Were intending to cut utility costs for families in half. Thats a big offer, you understand. That quantity of money effects the budget plan of daily households
What challenges do you face? Why?
You cant skip the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any business, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and say that were developing sustainable housing in low- and moderate-income communities, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These communities are still being red-lined. Some banks do not wish to invest; they dont wish to partner; they do not wish to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im trying to eliminate here, and weve made very small, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that union building is essential. My voice only means so much, but the more I can bring pals to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the requirement
So what can organizations like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting individuals in rooms together so everybody can share notes is constantly important. Stabilizing exposure, standing next to us and saying “these communities are worthwhile of financial investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can prospective partners do service with you?
Today, we are Chicago-focused. We are constantly looking for partners to invest, provide debt or purchase some tax credits, thats the first ask. We are also constantly going to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. This is not exclusive; its an open book. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically havent had access. We are also going to be expanding our board. Due to the fact that I believe that has real value, Im constantly tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts
How was your Accelerate membership benefited you?
Its been excellent simply to meet the other Accelerate member business. I learned a lot from having conversations with them in real-time, and discovering people with completely different perspectives. I enjoy the networking.
I think we are doing the finest we can do in the COVID environment. Simply understanding that it exists, and that ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
I believe there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our company. Even in our own neighborhoods, people simply cant believe it. Putting people in rooms together so everybody can share notes is always important. We are likewise always willing to host people if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these neighborhoods. We host individuals as soon as a week at our building so they can see the technology that were applying in communities that traditionally have not had access.
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Image thanks to Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is happy to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation features market leaders and topics associated with speeding up an equitable and just transition to a renewable resource economy. In acknowledgment of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how 3 Black-owned Accelerate member companies are prospering in the renewable resource 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 property analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his proficiency and performance history of developing consistent returns with an individual enthusiasm for assisting change communities and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his impact 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 company?
I had 2 turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mom got a $400 gas costs, and she was only making ten dollars an hour, so we couldnt pay for the gas expense. Therefore, sadly, we had our gas and heat turned off. For approximately a year in my teens, we had to boil water and bring it approximately a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely difficult times, and experiences like that just stick to you. I dont care what occurs the rest of your profession or what your quality of life is moving on; those minutes are with you forever. As I talk about that with various groups around the country, it has actually become clear that my experience is not an abnormality. A great deal of individuals have similar anecdotes, and thats not an excellent thing
The second turning point was most likely 15 years back, as I was working for a company that was buying a host of things worldwide. People were can be found in to ask for an investment around eco-friendly energy, and I postured a concern to them: “What you are doing with these solar companies is incredible, and the cost of solar is boiling down, but how does that assistance everyday people?” I asked, “Where are they in your equation? Where is their gain access to? They are paying an out of proportion quantity of their income on energy.” They looked puzzled that I would even dare ask about the everyday individuals. They stated, “Well, you understand, low- and moderate-income households often reside in multi-family buildings, and it is hard to get in contact with those developing owners. If you can not get in contact with the building owners, you have to call individual families and the expense of getting those people informed and then signing up for sustainable energy is not a beneficial organization model.” So, I asked, “What if I owned the housing advancement and the solar?” And they said, whoever does that is going to alter the market forever. I quit my job. I think I turned in my resignation within six months of that discussion, and I began my business. I named it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the general public real estate where I grew up. So everything is I do is targeted to families in those situations and concentrated on improving their quality of life
Tell us about your business? (objective, partners, areas you run in, main consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable innovations accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everybody needs to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.