Daryl Edward Harms (born c. 1952 in Carthage, Illinois; died July 9, 2005 in Birmingham) was an entrepreneur, best known for founding Masada a holding company for several businesses, including Masada Oxynol, a company that planned to build hundreds of plants to convert landfill waste into ethanol.
Harms was the one of three sons born to Walter Edward Harms and his wife, the former Pauline Eshom, of Quincy, Illinois.
Harms began selling cable television service in suburban locations in 1974, filling a gap left by providers that targeted rural and urban customers. He built the third-largest privately-held cable company before he sold for a significant profit and moved on to cellular telephones in partnership with Terry Johnson. Harms and Gordon Page founded Cass Cellular in 1988, focusing on establishing service in rural areas of the Midwest that were under-served by major carriers. He realized another large return when he sold the last of those properties in 1992.
In 1994 Harms and Johnson founded the Masada Resource Group with the idea of contracting with municipalities to build plants and then operating them for profit by offsetting the costs of garbage collection and processing by producing marketable ethanol as well as other recyclable by-products. Harms headed that venture and secured the company's first contract with the city of Middletown, New York.
Harms died from cancer in 2005. The Masada project in Middletown stalled after his death, and went into arbitration with Donald Watkins as its new CEO. Watkins was charged with fraud relating to his solicitations for investments in Masada in 2019. Harms' estate still owns half of the Masada Resource Group.
Harms served on the boards of the Alabama Republican Party, the American Cancer Society, Magic Moments and Prescott House. He and his wife Clarissa had two daughters: Hannah Katherine and Emily Elizabeth. After his death a tribute to Harms was read into the Congressional Record by Senator Richard Shelby.
- Welles, Ed (May 1, 2003) "The Door-To-Door Billionaire Daryl Harms knows how to turn dull businesses into big profits. But can he really do it with your garbage?" Fortune
- Walton, Val (July 10, 2005) "Businessman Daryl Harms dies at 53." The Birmingham News
- Shelby, Richard (July 27, 2005) "Tribute in Honor of Mr. Daryl E. Harms." The Congressional Record, p. S19155