Career Images Model and Talent Agency
When I first met Raymond L. LaPietra at his office, I was impressed! I noticed the walls of his office were bathed in numerous awards, certificates, achievement plaques, and photos of him with various celebrities. His custom-tailored designer suit, silk tie, and expensive jewelry convinced me that this was a man that was used to success.
Mr. LaPietra cordially took time from his busy schedule to grant me a reporter's interview, apologizing for the intercom pages from his secretary, on a few client phone calls he had to take. I must say, in watching Mr. LaPietra negotiate business deals for his models, he sure made it look easy.
Raymond L. LaPietra started CAREER IMAGES MODEL & TALENT AGENCY, INC. in February of 1982. Beginning with only 12 models, which he represented locally, he now owns and operates one of the largest and most-active Model and Talent Agencies in the Midwest, representing over 250 models exclusively and hundreds of others non-exclusively.
So how did the name Raymond L. LaPietra and the company CAREER IMAGES hit the big time, and stay there, becoming a name recognized and respected within the modeling industry? Let us look at how this enterprising and unique businessman took his dreams and built them into reality!
CAREER IMAGES, led by a leader filled with inspiration and plenty of business savvy, offered over 50 vivacious and talented models by the end of his first year in business. LaPietra's dream began unfolding when he continued to create a full service agency. He divisionalized his models who specialize in printwork, runway, fashion shows, convention work, promotional work, television and radio commercials, film, etc. CAREER IMAGES has accumulated a client list that reads like a "Who's Who". Such clients are L'Oreal, Pillsbury, Proctor & Gamble, USA Products, USA Network, Revlon-Realistic, Sebastian International, Seagram Americas, British Broadcasting Corporation, J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart, Ford Motor, Toyota, Sears, Luzier Cosmetics, Mattel Toy Co., Lee Co., Time-Warner, HBO, Spike TV, MTV, General Motors, NASCAR, and Pepsi to name a few. With the passing of time and continued growth, LaPietra branched out even more to encompass a greater piece of the industry's pie by buying out some of his competition.
In 1984, LaPietra sent his first model to Paris, France. This began his gradual climb in sending additional models to other international markets such as Japan, Italy, Germany, etc.
In 1985, LaPietra purchased the Monza Agency, a 25 year old modeling company in Kansas City and then months later he also operated the Nancy Bounds Model Agency (KC Branch). Both of these additions catapulted LaPietra into becoming one of the most sought-after agents in Kansas City. In late 1985 he purchased the exclusive rights to the Miss Kansas Venus Beauty Pageant, which he operated successfully for two years. During the year, marketing endeavors began paying off in an even greater way as CAREER IMAGES models could be seen getting parts on national television shows such as Miami Vice, Star Search, Solid Gold, and Dynasty, and in such films as Rocky III and Robo Cop II.
Also, in 1985 Mr. LaPietra was appointed to the International Acadamy of Fashion & Merchandising Design Board. He remains an alumni member yet today.
In 1986, LaPietra booked numerous actors and actresses in the made-for-television movies, "Murder Ordained" and "Combat High". With business booming at a fast pace, LaPietra's reputation alone became the ticket to a high fashion "Star Cruise", along with 29 other leading international agents. Later that same year LaPietra was praised for his "Going Hollywood" seminar, which he brought to Kansas City. This particular seminar included the casting director from Lorimar Productions. He also brought the "Starmania Talent Search" to Kansas City in 1986 and 1987, which provided booking opportunities and placement for ambitious entertainers wishing to work in Las Vegas, and beyond. From 1986 to 1994, LaPietra became vice-president and partial share holder of Sound Dynamics and On-Locaton Video. Through this alliance, LaPietra developed his skills producing and directing model and music videos, industrial and educational video tapes.
From 1990 to 1992, LaPietra served on the Southwestern Bell Small Business Advisory Panel. This panel represented all small businesses within five states, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. In 1992, LaPietra became one of "Who's Who" in American Society and Business. He went on to continue to be awarded "Who's Who" honors in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2000. In 1992 LaPietra became part owner of "Expressions Magazine" and later bought out his partners taking full ownership, becoming Editor-in-Chief. "Expressions Magazine" is a variety magazine featuring businesses and persons of high-achievement, dominantly within the fashion and entertainment industry.
From 1986 to 1991 LaPietra served his community as a county Deputy Sheriff, working part-time evenings and weekends. In 1990, Mr. LaPietra earned his state certification through a second training academy where he became a police officer. He continued to work evenings and weekends from 1990 until May of 1995 when he resigned to spend more time with his wife and family. Mr. LaPietra received numerous law enforcement awards and citations, including an "Officer of The Year" award, for his work in producing, directing, and marketing of the nation-wide video, "Drugs... a Dead-End Road." This video warned teenagers of the horror and consequences of drug abuse. Mr. LaPietra made numerous appearances on television and radio talk shows. As a result of his prison concerts and junior and high school assemblies, this program positively impacted countless people. Enough so, that Mr. LaPietra received recognition from President Reagan and the White House.
In 1993, LaPietra was one of only five in the world to receive the "Outstanding Promoter Of The Year" award, presented to him by Donald J. Trump at the Trump Castle in Atlantic City, NJ.. In the fall of 1994, LaPietra was appointed to I.M.A.R.E.B., a Regulatory and Ethics Commission that oversees and regulates Modeling Agencies and Schools throughout the United States and Canada. In 1993, as a result of a Mayoral Appointment, Mr. LaPietra became an esteemed member of Leadership Northeast. By serving on this council, Mr. LaPietra was able to make a positive impact on ten of the major cities in Johnson County. He remains an alumni member assisting in current projects.
In 1995, 1996 and 1997, Mr. LaPietra received the "State Director Of The Year" award for his service and talents in the North American Scholastic Pageant. In 1997, Mr. LaPietra took a delegation of over one dozen contestants, representing six states, to compete at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. Mr. LaPietra proudly watched most of his models walk away with numerous awards as division winners and runner-up finalists. Mr. LaPietra was awarded the "American Dream Promoter of the Year Award" in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. In 1999, Mr. LaPietra received an International Promoter Award from the Malaysian government for his service and skill for providing representatives from the United States in the "Miss Tourism International Pageant."
Mr. LaPietra has worked with Ed McMahon for over a decade. Mr. LaPietra provided numerous models and talent for the television program "StarSearch" and enjoyed seeing his talent win in every category, Spokesmodel (Angelica Bridges), Female Vocalist (Lisa Bronston), Dance Team (Rick and Diann Ranum), except within the Comedy category, which he did not supply. Mr. LaPietra now works with Ed McMahon by providing various talents for the current television competition, "Ed McMahon's Next Big Star". Like Ed McMahon, Mr. LaPietra believes in providing career-elevating opportunities that discover and place new talent, without charging for these opportunities like others within the industry.
In 2003, Raymond LaPietra added yet another agency to his worldwide network when he became the Vice-President and shareholder of Focus One Model Management L.L.C. in upstate New York. By owning yet another agency on the upper east coast, Mr. LaPietra now services even more of the industry. In early 2004 Mr. LaPietra became Vice-President and shareholder of Ion International Models, Inc., which is located in Orlando, Florida. This agency is located in a multimillion-dollar estate with notable neighbors like Tiger Woods, Steven Segal, Shaquille O’Neal, and Lou Pearlman, founder of Transcontinental Music, who discovered the “Back Street Boys”, Brittany Spears, and others. It is uncommon for an agency office to be located in such a unique setting versus the expected commercial setup, but this is yet another example of how Mr. LaPietra likes to do business. By acquiring these two additional agencies Mr. LaPietra now possesses a much-larger industry dominance and footprint. Currently, Mr. LaPietra has over twenty-one thousand models, actors, and talent in his active worldwide database.
In January of 2006, Raymond L. LaPietra took over 50% ownership of B2 Technology Consultant LLC and 50% ownership of yet another Internet Technology Services Corporation named Business University LLC. By adding these two corporations to Mr. LaPietra’s portfolio of companies, Mr. LaPietra and his Partner; Ledrue Bolder Jr. now service numerous clientele who need website design, content management, computer hardware and software, business and technical resources and consulting, and various information technology services. Some of the business and community awards received are; the BFTAW Leadership Recognition Award and the Willie Mae Carter—Dorothy Sorrells Humanitarian Award for Community Services. These corporations are also proud and active members of the Alliance of Community Educators. Raymond L. LaPietra and Ledrue Bolder Jr. both believe in serving community and humanitarian needs in addition to business and industry
To relax, LaPietra practices martial arts. He has studied Judo, Karate, Kenpo and Hapkido, holding various degrees and belts. He feels that martial arts offers much more than just physical value by toning both mind and body.
Raymond L. LaPietra is often asked to speak in front of groups to share some of his expertise and insight. He has performed numerous seminars and speeches on topics covering time management, goal setting, image consulting, negotiating techniques, modeling and entertainment. He is particularly known for his positive attitude and motivational seminars. In these humorous and informative presentations, he reduces success down to simple skills of imagination, belief, and action. It is easy for others to feel inspired by what Mr. LaPietra shares in these seminars, considering all that he has accomplished in his life.
The sky's the limit and Raymond L. LaPietra is going to keep on reaching for those stars! When asked what he considers to be the secret to all of his success he simply replied, "I have achieved what I wanted in life by merely helping others to achieve what they want. A person can accomplish anything they can imagine, if they will remember to make their goals big enough to allow for the other people they come in contact with. There is no better way nor any finer blueprint for success, than to share in a Christian way with others, the gifts, talents, and resources we possess!"