Barranca honored as 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year

Award recognizes co-founder of the Rowlands+Barranca Agency, one of the Capital Region’s largest employee benefits firms with annual premium volume of $140 million
Loudonville – The Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Siena College (Stack Center) today announced the selection of Michael J. Barranca ’87, co-founder of the Rowlands+Barranca Agency of Albany, as the recipient of its 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The honor will be presented during a ceremony on Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. in the Sarazen Student Union. 
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is sponsored by Schwartz Heslin Group. The award recognizes an alum who, driven by the entrepreneurial spirit and values of Siena College, has excelled as an entrepreneur and positively impacted his or her community.
Barranca, who received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, is vice president of Rowlands+Barranca Agency, an employee benefits specialist firm he co-founded with a former Empire BlueCross BlueShield colleague in 1996. By 2012, the firm had revenue of $4 million on premium volume of about $140 million, making it the Capital Region’s fourth-largest health insurance agency. In December 2013, the firm was acquired for $9 million by Brown & Brown Inc. of Daytona Beach, Florida, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, for which it now operates as a unit.
“We are delighted to recognize Michael Barranca as a most worthy recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award,” said Michael J. Hickey ’83, Executive Director of the Stack Center and Executive-in-Residence at Siena. “His demonstrated excellence in starting and sustaining a successful company, supported by his dedication to strong business ethics and commitment to give back to his community, offers our students a sterling example for the right way to pursue an entrepreneurial career.”
“I am honored and humbled to be chosen by the Stack Center as this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year,” said Barranca. “While it is a thrill to be recognized for success in my profession, it is particularly special to receive this award from my alma mater, which has played such an important role in my career and my life. Most of all, I hope to inspire our students to work hard, follow their dreams, and know that they can always count on the support of the Siena family.”
Barranca began his career as an actuarial analyst for Empire BlueCross BlueShield. He later served as director of finance and actuarial services for BlueShield of Northeastern New York, and as manager of employee benefits for a large independent insurance agency in the Capital District, before incorporating Rowlands+Barranca Agency, Inc. with Bruce Rowlands in 1996. Now in its 19th year, Rowlands+Barranca serves clients throughout the Northeast and beyond, specializing in employee benefits, including the brokering of health, dental, life, AD&D, LTD, STD, and a host of other benefit policies.  The company also provides FSA and HRA administration, consolidated billing options, COBRA billing and administration, and enrollment processing.

A native of Albany, Barranca resides in Delmar with his wife Susan, a 1988 graduate of Siena College, and their three children.
The inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented last year to Antonio Civitella ’91, President and CEO of Transfinder of Schenectady, which is a national leader in student transportation management systems and services. Transfinder has made the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for eight consecutive years.
About the Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The David ’73 and Christine Spicer ’75 Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is an interdisciplinary program focused on innovation and value creation from idea development through commercialization. The Center’s primary focus is on student projects and entrepreneurial skill development. Click here for more information.


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