Marc Summers and David Chambers have a very weird job – they build incredibly tall flagpoles for dictators. Summers and Chambers’s company Trident Support Corporation has cornered the market in the lucrative bizarre world of competitive despot flagpoles.
It seems that if you are the leader of an authoritarian regime there is nothing that says you a true leader more than being able to fly a very high flag and so Summers and Chambers are regularly employed to build the worlds tallest flagpoles for authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and Asia.
“If you’d told me 15 years ago that we were going to be building flagpoles as our primary business, I would have said you were crazy.” “We started out 18 years ago, working in defence logistics, and we were working in Abu Dhabi when our business sponsor – a fairly influential person in the UAE – came to us and said they wanted to build a flagpole. He’d been to Mexico, seen some big flagpoles there and thought one would look great in Abu Dhabi as a monument to the ruler. They trusted us and asked if we could do it. So we said, “Well, we haven’t built flagpoles, but how hard can it be? How big do you want it, sir?” And he said he wanted the tallest in the world.”
Tajikistan currently hold the record for the world’s tallest flagpole – standing at 165 metres high. Previous the record had been held by Azerbaijan and, before that, by Turkmenistan. Trident built all three of them.
“We build more flagpoles over 100 metres than every other flagpole company in the world combined. No one’s built a world-record flagpole in the last 12 years but us,” says Marc.