Peter Abitanto, RHU , Executive Vice President
With over 20 years of industry experience, Pete has a track record of building upon top-performing operations in progressive leadership roles.  Focused on delivering results for clients, teammates and business partners, Pete provides expertise in the benefit evaluations, financial analysis, renewal negotiations, and identification of long-term cost saving strategies.  Prior to joining Brown & Brown, Pete served as Vice President of the Northeast for United Healthcare, and Director of Sales for Oxford Health Plans, responsible for overseeing expansion into new markets.  He has served as a board member of two local chapters of the National Association of Health Underwriters and has been a key note speaker at various business associations on the topic of Health Care Reform.  He has a bachelor's degree in Economics and Business from Lafayette College and received his Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designation from American College.

Account Executives

Sandy DenBesten, Vice President of Sales
Sandy DenBesten possesses 20+ years of experience in sales and service in the health insurance industry. Before coming to Rowlands + Barranca, she served as a marketing representative for Blue Shield of Northeastern New York. Licensed in life, accident and health, Ms. DenBesten is also a licensed broker. She’s also a member of PIA, the Capital Region Human Resource Association and the New York State Society for Human Resource Management.

Our Account Executive Team’s main responsibilities include servicing R+B clients through:

  • Keeping clients informed and up-to-date on current marketing issues and proposed regulation
  • Following up on all claims and administration issues
  • Drafting benefit comparison and recommending new plan offerings
  • Timely delivery of renewals

Account Management

Kristen Bentley, Account Manager

Chad Marvin, Account Manager

Kristina Zabinski, Account Manager


Support Services

Judi Burkhard, Vice President of Client Services
Judi Burkhard brings nearly 25 years experience in call center management and customer service to Rowlands + Barranca. A key member of the R+B team, Judi is primarily responsible for:

  • Ensuring an exceptional level of service is delivered to all clients
  • Maintaining excellent working conditions at R+B
  • Monitoring daily operation of office staff

Mary Ellen Kaier, Vice President of Marketing

Mary Ellen Kaier joined R+B in 2015, returning to the Capital Region where she previously held the position of Director of Group Rating and Underwriting for Empire BlueCross BlueShield.  Most recently, she was located in the Central New York area, where she served as Executive Director of a Managed Medicare and Medicaid Plan.  In addition to her insurance experience, Mary Ellen has held senior leadership positions in an Academic Medical Center, as well as a Long Term Care organization, with responsibility for insurance contracting, financial analysis, market research, strategic planning and business development.  She brings to R+B over 25 years of experience in health care financing, actuarial analysis, and product rating.

Steve Piccolino, Director of Benefits Integration Technology
Steven Piccolino blends experience in financial services and information technology to provide innovative solutions for R+B clients. His main responsibilities include:

  • Designing and implementing a user-friendly employee benefits web interface
  • Researching and implementing new software and information systems to improve internal efficiency

Patrick Markiewicz, Director of Group Marketing

Katie Bakaitis, Group Marketing Representative

Nicole Codi, Group Marketing Representative
Kenneth Lum, Group Marketing Representative


Catherine Hobbs, Software Implementation Manager

Kaitlyn Bodo, Software Implementation Specialist

Brooke Connelly, Senior Software Implementation Specialist

Nicole Curtin , Senior Software Implementation Specialist

Meghan Selkis, Software Implementation Specialist

Kyle Vashkulat, Software Implementation Specialist

Additional Staff

Camille Bayly, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Michelle Hand, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Jennifer Kreitsek, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Erin Lupe, Project Specialist

Lindsey Meagher, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Siobhan Melanson, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Kathryn Nolan, Administrative Assistant

Karen Prosser, Vice President Accounting Leader