In 1990, while teaching the Commercial Real Estate Development, Planning, and Finance course at Creighton Law School, the economy, mainly commercial real estate, was depressed. Lenders were not lending, construction stopped, and our country had billions of dollars of unoccupied and distressed commercial real estate. The federal government instituted the Resolution Trust Corporation ("RTC") to solve this problem. At the time, Slusky mentioned to the Dean of the Law School that teaching commercial real estate back then was somewhat of a waste due to the poor shape that the industry was in and described the RTC and indicated that no one knew how to access its provisions. Jerry suggested that it would be good for the law school to sponsor a conference on the subject. The Dean turned to him and said, "Great idea Jerry, why don't you put the conference together!" Thus, the COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE WORKSHOP was born, whose name was changed to The Commercial Real Estate Summit on its 25th anniversary.
The event has grown to include speaking engagements by virtually every Midwest industry leader, including Presidents of national banks and CEOs of national real estate brokerage firms and construction companies. Mayoral and Gubernatorial debates are held during election years, and nationally-known keynote speakers are featured, including Bill Rancic, who gained fame as the first winner of The Apprentice, Jim Abbott, Major League Baseball's first one-armed pitcher, and Robert O'Neill, former Navy Seal and Special Operative.
"Virtually all aspects of business and economic growth involve some form of real estate transaction, so for nearly 1,000 business and real estate leaders to gather to spend a day focused on the topic is a big deal … This is definitely a conference where deals are made", said Randy Thelen, the former Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. He spoke of the annual Commercial Real Estate Summit ("CRE Summit"), an 8-hour event that Jerry Slusky founded 35 years ago, and still Chairs.
The CRE Summit is a highly anticipated annual conference for commercial real estate industry professionals. Over 900 professionals that make their living in commercial real estate attend this event yearly. It has become Nebraska's best-known and best-attended real estate conference to date.