Bruce Rowlands, Executive Vice President
Prior to establishing the Rowlands+Barranca Agency in 1996, Bruce Rowlands worked in health insurance sales for Empire BlueCross BlueShield. Bruce has served as a consultant, overseeing the Health Insurance Division of a large insurance company serving 25 northeastern states. Prior to that he formed and later became Vice President of the Employee Benefits Division of a large independent insurance agency. Bruce has also testified on behalf of the commercial insurance industry regarding proposed legislative actions in several states and is a member of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York. Bruce is a native of Albany, and resides with his wife and two daughters in Delmar.

Michael Barranca, Vice President
Michael Barranca began his career as an actuarial analyst for Empire BlueCross BlueShield, becoming the manager of the Group Underwriting Department. He subsequently served as Director of Finance and Actuarial Services of BlueShield of Northeastern New York; and, later, as Manager of Employee Benefits for a large independent insurance agency in the Capital District. In 1996, he brought his expertise and experience in the fields of rate negotiation and benefit analysis to R+B. Michael is a native of Albany, and resides in Delmar with his wife and three children.

Account Executives

Sandy DenBesten, Vice President of Sales
Sandy DenBesten possesses 19 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.

John M. Nuzzi, Senior Benefits Consultant
John Nuzzi began his insurance career in 2005 with MDNY Healthcare, a Long Island-based HMO, where he was a Sales Manager.  Prior to joining Rowlands + Barranca, John was a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  There, John served his clients in the Employee Benefits area as a Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist, with a focus on 401(k) plans.  John resides in East Greenbush with his wife Noelle and their two boys, Jackson and Devin.


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, Group Marketing Representative

Katie Bakaitis, 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

Michelle Hand , FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Kailyn Johnson, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Erin Lupe, Project Specialist

Lindsey Meagher, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Siobhan Melanson, FSA & Group Billing Administrator

Karen Prosser, Vice President Accounting Leader

Kate Quaranto, Manager of Client Services
Patti Rowlands, Office Leader

Nicole Wilson, Sales Assistant