Focus on customer service

Tucked away in an office complex full of computers and technicians, Craig Howard starts his day by checking reports to make sure the Cougar Card system operated throughout the night. Howard is the newly appointed interim director of Administrative Services Information Systems. 

Long before Howard started with administrative services, he worked in the food service industry, where he spent late nights working on operations for restaurants and hotels. He took a position with Dining Services and came to WSU with his young family seeking a more stable environment.

He had only been there a short time when the director asked him to help implement the new menu and inventory management system. That position challenged him and opened the door to his career in information technology.

Administrative Services Information Systems provides critical help and customer services throughout the university.

“Our underlying goal is to provide convenience to students, faculty and staff,” he said.

One of Howard’s specialties is creating custom reports to monitor the growth and operations of the Cougar Card program. When a new vendor in town decides to accept Cougar Cash as a form of payment, Howard is the person who creates the custom reporting for the vendor. The reports he designs record how much Cougar Cash was accepted in transactions, then the reports automatically are sent to the vendor.

He said his most difficult tasks are dealing with problems ranging from software bugs to network and hardware failures, so it is a good thing he enjoys a challenge. The job is rewarding when systems are working as they should, he said. However, almost every day presents at least one unplanned event or new situation.

“It is always frustrating when I am unable to deliver excellent customer service and have to be dependant on external forces to resolve the issue,” he said.

When he is solving a problem, he feels especially proud if the resolution makes a student or staff person’s life a little better or more convenient.

Staff Spotlight is an occasional series about WSU staff. If you have a suggestion of someone to be featured, please contact intern Kelly Peterson at

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