Michael Schall, CEO of Essex Realty Trust, accepts his award as the 2015 Executive of the Year at the Multifamily Executive Conference October 6. Schall has led the REIT to new heights during his tenure, acquiring the company’s biggest rival BRE in a $6.2 billion deal in 2014. But it wasn’t just the size and scope of that acquisition alone—the efficiency and effectiveness of merging two massive companies has wowed analysts and his peers from coast to coast.