The Texas construction industry is expecting 2014 to be it's best year in a long time, with construction projects expected to be up 10% from 2013, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  "Health care is not, K-12 public schools are a very good market right now," says Kirk Kistner, the vice president of Bartlett Cocke General Contractors.  The firm is one of the largest builders of non residential structures in the state, specializing in hospitals, government buildings, and large industrial construction.


  But Kistner says the hottest segment of all right now is manufacturing and industrial construction. 


  "Anything that's energy related is significantly picking up, and that's across the state," he said.


  The Texas construction industry has never seen a slump on the level seen elsewhere, but the boom in government construction is largely driven by a new willingness of agencies to place bond issues on the ballot, and a surge in property tax revenue for schools due to the booming housing market.


  Housing construction remains strong in Texas as well, as the inventory of homes on the market in San Antonio is dwindling, and home prices soar.


  Kistner says the biggest problem the Texas housing industry will face in 2014 is a lack of skilled workers.


  "We're really hitting the point that as Baby Boomers start to retire, we really have a labor shortage right now in the construction industry," he said.


  Kistner says the average age of a skilled plumber in Texas is 55, and average ages of other skilled tradespeople is the same age.


  He said a young man or woman would do well to consider the skilled trades, which pay well, and represent a growing category of available jobs in the coming decades.


  Kistner is encouraging women as well as men to enter the construction fields.  He says technology has resulted in so many aspects of construction being 'pre built' that a strong back to dig ditches and hoist girders is no long required.  He says he would prefer to have dedicated, smart people trained in Computer Aided Design and other high tech specialties working on his job sites.