Stas Margaronis speaks to SRJC

Drew Sheets, Staff Writer

Rarely does a man come along who espouses such a vision as to change the way you look at the world in a meaningful way. A visionary leader with the needed experience, money, focus, drive and mental fortitude to impress his vision onto anyone who has not completely bought in to current, corporate America today, Stas Margaronis is this visionary.

Stas, as he prefers to be called, is the brains behind the Green Jobs Conference to be held at Santa Rosa Junior College March 1. He has 30 years of experience in dealing with international trade, specifically China, and has been president of the Santa Maria Shipping Company since 1998. Along with creating a carbon-neutral option for individuals and businesses at greenshipsusa.com, he also put together a national jobs plan that takes job creation and climate change seriously.

Rebuilding the United States (RBTUS) is designed to take America out of the Great Recession by applying existing technologies in the fields of power and transportation, transforming the way Americans power the grid and move products around the country. RBTUS promises to save our way of life, creating 20 million sustainable industrial jobs over the next six years. It also includes a zero-carbon, or carbon-neutral economic model, transitioning America away from fossil fuels completely. Doing so creates a cleaner environment and brighter future for all who call the U.S. home.

In 1983 Stas travelled to China for the first time with his wife on what he referred to as a “working honeymoon.”  The old hotels were “straight out of an old Indiana Jones movie,” Stas said. He was working for a leasing company out of California and was there to sell second-hand rail equipment and steam-powered train engines. It was obvious to him then the Chinese were not interested in buying or leasing “anything second-hand.”

He returned in 1984 aiming to sell high-tech, General Electric, diesel-powered C-36 train engines. The Chinese bought 500 of them and never looked back. Stas explained the Chinese don’t worry about intellectual property rights or patents, and he watched as they replicated the C-36s as they deemed fit. When he returned to China again in 1993, 10 years after his original visit, he walked into a completely different environment.

He realized the Chinese were serious about competing on the global scale. With this unique perspective, you could say Stas was on the tip of the spear when speaking of the ground soldiers witnessing the economic war we now know as globalization.

“They went from a third world country to a highly advanced country in less than 30 years,” Stas said. “They have a banking system that is totally backed by the government so that everything that had to be financed was done so with a preferential financing arrangement. With subsidization of finance, production, adversarial trade practices and general infrastructure spending all put together in one strategic, war type arrangement, it was unbeatable. Our market system does not compete in this world.

“The Chinese are in the process of building a national network of high-speed rails. Since I have been covering high-speed rails in the 90s, we still haven’t gotten a mile of hi-speed track in this country,” Stas said.

RBTUS has a plan to link the nation with high-speed rails.

In hopes to strengthen his claim that China is engaging the world in full-scale economic war, Stas talked about how China was illegally “dumping” solar panels on the global market to bankrupt global competitors such as Solyndra in the United States.

Dumping is the illegal practice of discounting or undercutting competitors in the global market with the hope of gaining industrial control of a commodity or good. Not many Americans are aware of the fact that a few months after Solyndra went belly-up, our own department of Commerce provided evidence proving China illegally dumped solar panels on the world market at the rate of 33 percent.

“This is how the game is played. They don’t care whether they get fined. They don’t care whether they get taken to the World Trade Organization. By the time they have illegally discounted their solar panels, Solyndra and every other American maker is out of business and they [China] own the market,” Stas said. “The people who were attacking Solyndra are the same ones supporting the Chinese manufacturers whether they know it or not. If I walked into a corporate boardroom and said that we need to put the flag above profits, I’d be called a communist. There are no free markets in globalization. In this war the Chinese are using tanks and we are using cavalry. You either fight fire with fire or you lose.”

Stas explained climate change as our number one security threat. He insists new wind turbine technology is now available and could be built on both coastlines, east and west, which could in fact cover the energy demands for the entire country.

He says Americans are unwilling to admit that a zero-emission economy is readily available and that we do not have to invent a thing in order to apply it. Most of the equipment and processes designed to implement this strategy have to be built in America because the size of the parts are enormous. These parts include wind turbines, long cables that run through steel tunnels which lay on the ocean floor, the steel connectors that house the cables, the rails and high-tech engines have to be built right here at home. Essentially, this plan isn’t just advocating for American jobs, but the sheer magnitude of the scale forces the moving parts to be made, engineered and produced in America by American workers.

Stas believes that 20 million Americans could go back to work if America focused on zero-emission manufacturing jobs. He argues that if the U.S. put efforts towards fighting climate change the way it ramped up efforts to win WWII, reaching the 20 million jobs mark would be easy because they put 15 million people to work during WWII with half the population.

“The fossil fuel lobby is very powerful in Washington… that, we have to deal with,” Stas said. “The president does not have to run for election again. Hurricane Sandy cost $50 billion for one event. Climate change is the national security issue for the United States right now.”

RBTUS is in line with the Department of Transportation’s stated goals of reducing emissions, unclogging freeways and making transportation safer for Americans across the country. Go to RBTUS.com for more details.

Friday, March 1, Stas and RBTUS are sponsoring the Green Jobs Conference at SRJC. The all-day event goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For students, admission is free and the doors of the Bertolini Students Center open at 8 a.m. Congressman Mike Thompson will be there to speak as well as Sonoma County Supervisors Mike McGuire and Susan Gorin. SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong will  also present. Go to greenjobsevent.com to register.