Marc Summers and David Chambers got their start in defense logistics, but their company, Trident Support Corporation, now focuses on something rather different: Building really, really big flagpoles. They built the tallest one in the world, a 541-footer in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; they also built the prior record-holder in Baku, Azerbaijan, which is 531 feet. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan had the tallest before Baku—and it was also built by Trident. In fact, the company has built "the six tallest free-standing flagpoles in the world today," according to its website. It's all part of what Vice calls an "arms race" of sorts between authoritarian governments in Central Asia and the Middle East.
Summers and Chambers didn't specifically seek out work in flagpole creation."We didn't identify a gap in the market; there was no market," Chambers says. Inspired by flags in Mexico, "a fairly influential person" with whom they were working in the United Arab Emirates asked them to build one. "We said, "Well, we haven't built flagpoles, but how hard can it be?" Summers tells Vice. "Nowadays people are knocking down our doors for flagpoles," Chambers notes. (Read more flag stories.)