First American Title Insurance Company Announces Winners of 2007 IMPACT Awards

Johanna Alfonso, Alyssa Hopponen and Steve E. Mercer Honored for Personal Integrity and Superior Performance

February 26, 2008, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company announced today the winners of the company’s first-ever IMPACT Awards. Johanna Alfonso, Alyssa Hopponen and Steve E. Mercer were recognized by their respective leadership teams and a panel of judges at First American’s corporate headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif., for their superior performance in the areas of integrity, maturity, performance, attitude, community involvement and teamwork.

“The IMPACT Awards were established to recognize outstanding accomplishments of those employees who have made significant contributions to the success of First American,” said Curt G. Johnson, president of First American Title Insurance Company. “Johanna, Alyssa and Steve serve as models of professionalism and dedication, and they consistently go above and beyond the call of duty to deliver outstanding experiences for our customers.”

The finalists were honored at a special event on Dec. 9, 2007, at the exclusive Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Calif., in the first of what will be an annual event. Winners and their guests were hosted at a special recognition reception hosted by Parker S. Kennedy, chairman and chief executive officer of First American Title’s parent company, The First American Corporation.

In rating the finalists, judges looked at a host of criteria, including courage and strength of character, respect for their teammates, ability to make sound business decisions and deliver consistent results, positive attitude, customer focus and support for the local community.

Since joining First American’s Memphis, Tenn., office as a processor trainee in 2002, Johanna Alfonso has shown great aptitude and an eagerness to learn about the title industry. Within a year she was promoted to escrow officer, where she specialized in communicating with the area’s growing Spanish-speaking population. Following First American’s selection as closing agent for the Louisiana Road Home program, a federally funded grant program that assists Louisiana homeowners affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Alfonso relocated to New Orleans to oversee the pre-closing department. As one of the only people in the department with experience closing a real estate transaction, she took responsibility for training a 60-member team to handle everything from receipt of the order up to the closing of the transaction. Quickly reacting to changes in the program, Alfonso has helped refine the pre-closing process, while becoming a high-volume workflow expert with a team that processes as many as 10,000 transactions in a single month.

Alfonso’s past community involvement includes serving as a member of the League Uniting Latin American Citizens in Memphis, Tenn.

Alyssa Hopponen currently serves as senior vice president and director of National Settlement Services for First American’s National Lenders Advantage division in Westlake, Texas. She joined the company in 1991 as a microfilm clerk in Santa Ana, Calif. Over the last 13 years she has held various positions within the company’s Lenders Advantage division, including title officer, title department supervisor and operations manager.

Hopponen is credited with establishing and managing the first centralized title unit within California Lenders Advantage, which is the model for much of the division’s title production today. She now oversees one of four National Settlement Services centers across the nation, where her efforts to simplify workflow and improve service have led to improved employee retention and customer satisfaction, as well as an increase in order volume to a record 100,000 refinance and equity transactions in 2007.

Steve E. Mercer, a 20-year veteran of the title insurance industry, has been a driving force behind the success of First American’s Texas Agency division. Mercer began his title career in 1987 following three years as an independent landman in Louisiana and Texas. He joined First American’s Houston division in 1992 and quickly worked his way up through customer service, the Texas Lenders Advantage division and the Builder division. He also has spearheaded several special projects, including a disaster recovery program for a four-state region.

Mercer currently serves as district manager for First American’s Texas Agency Department, where he is responsible for business development and account management for independent title insurance agents throughout the state of Texas.

A Texas resident for more than 30 years, Mercer is actively involved in his community. He has served as a foster parent and is an elder at his church. He also serves as assistant chaplain with the Harris County Sheriff Department and vice president on the board of Servival Ministries, which serves the local prison population.

About First American

First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), traces its history to 1889. One of the largest title insurers in the nation, the company offers title services through more than 1,800 offices and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad. The company has its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. Information about The First American Corporation’s subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at


Access the powerful online services available only at First American.

We value your privacy. Learn why we collect this information and how we use it. Sign In
Forgot Username or Password?

Sign Up

Sign up for a myFirstAm® account.

Other Platforms

  • FASTWeb

    Title ordering, routing and tracking.

  • AgentNet®

    eJackets, closing protection letters, back title, bulletins and more.


    Access the nation's largest land record database.

  • Home Warranty

    Coverage for a home's major systems and appliances.