Marketing Man. Rob Schmerler, owner of the Schmerler Insurance Agency, has named Jim Johnson as marketing manager for the local insurance firm. With an extensive knowledge of Texas auto, homeowners, and commercial policies, Johnson brings more than 20 years experience as a licensed Texas multi-lines agent and claims specialist, handling complex claims and litigation, as well as professional liability for physicians, nurses, and healthcare organizations. A graduate of Baylor University, Johnson’s focus is on new business, marketing initiatives, and client retention. schmerleragency.com.
Brava e Bravo. Braving freezing Houston temperatures, eight finalists competed in the Concert of Arias at the 23rd annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers held February 3 at the Wortham Center. Judge Frederica von Stade, HGO general director Anthony Freud, and HGO music director Patrick Summers selected soprano Lauren Snouffer and baritones Mark Diamond and Thomas Florio as winners; Adam Lau, bass, was selected to receive the Audience Choice Award. • In other local opera news, HGO representatives have announced that mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has been tapped as the Lynn Wyatt Great Artist at Houston Grand Opera for the 2011–12 season. houstongrandopera.org.