Small attended Wilcox County schools and was trained as a heavy equipment operator. He worked in construction for 20 years as an OSHA-authorized Safety Outreach Trainer. He later attended the Birmingham Baptist Bible College and earned a bachelor of arts in religious education at Miles College and a master of science in counseling at UAB. He and his wife, Annie, have three children.
Small was appointed by Governor Don Siegelman to the Jefferson County Commission in 2001, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Chris McNair. He served for one year, losing to Shelia Smoot in the 2002 election.
Small lost to Sandra Little Brown in the 2010 Democratic primary to fill the Jefferson County Commission District 2 seat left open when Smoot decided to run for U.S. Congress. He ran again, challenging Brown in the 2014 Democratic primary for the same seat.
During the campaign, Small emphasized the importance of correcting the county's hiring practices and expressed regret for the loss of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital.
- Bryant, Joseph D. (May 18, 2010) "Campaign 2010: Jefferson County District 2 commission hopefuls target sewers." The Birmingham News
- Wright, Barnett (May 30, 2014) "Jefferson County Commission candidate profile: Steve Small, Jr. District 2." The Birmingham News
- Steve Small campaign website