Brian Kochendorfer Succeeds Doug Imber as Essex President


A thriving Chicago brokerage that’s a fixture in the mid-market multifamily space is going through a leadership shakeup as its longtime president steps down, and Compass has further consolidated the number of offices under a rising sales manager.

Read on for more Chicago-area real estate career moves.

➤ With Doug Imber leaving his post as president  after 33 years with multifamily brokerage Essex Realty Group, Brian Kochendorfer is set to take on the role.

Imber will remain with the firm and has endorsement of his successor. “Brian’s acumen, steadiness, integrity, vision, and commitment to the service of others make him an ideal choice to lead Essex,” he said in a statement.

Kochendorfer started working with the brokerage in 2014 and became a managing broker in 2021, when he began overseeing management and training of Essex dealmakers.

With the move Kochendorfer becomes its newest partner, as well.

Ashley Donat last week was appointed sales manager for Compass’ Bucktown, Oak Park and River Forest offices.

It’s an expansion of her role as sales manager for the Compass Northwest Chicagoland regional office, a position she took in 2022 and will maintain with the move.

Compass’ Fran Broude said Donat has been instrumental in the local firm’s growth since joining as co-founder of the Bridge Team in 2018.

➤ Chicago-based industrial investment firm ML Realty Partners scooped up an industry vet with more than 20 years of experience. Elizabeth Lemus, has joined the firm after working for commercial real estate brokerage NAI Hiffman.

Lemus is taking an assistant controller position with ML, in which she will lead financial reporting, and corporate and development accounting.

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