The most important things to help insure that when an editor does get around to reviewing a site that it will go through IMHO include selecting the most relevant category, and a title and description that conforms to the guidelines.
Title should just be the name of the site or company, nothing more:
The description should be a sentence or two that describes what someone will find on the site.
Take the listing in Dmoz for Yahoo! for example:
Title - Yahoo!
Description - The first large scale directory of the Internet, now a major portal offering search engine results, customizable content, chatrooms, free e-mail, clubs, and pager.
Notice what is and isn't in the title and description.
Title is just the name of the site - Yahoo! Not:
Yahoo! web directory,
not Yahoo! the best web directory
not Yahoo! directory search engine personals and finance news
It's just Yahoo!
The description in a sentence or two provides a description of what one will find on the site. Since Yahoo! offers so many different things now and decriptions are generaly limited to about 20 words or less, the description does not mention everything that Yahoo! offers so it is important to pick out the most important features/services or information to highlight in the description.
Many directory submissions at any directory will come in with a title with a description in it and then a description that may be something like this:
Yahoo! - search engine directory personals free email web mail personals music downloads shopping portal sports news video games
If there is no editor listed in a category, then an editor higher up possibly a meta [dmoz.org] (someone who generally has editing access in the whole directory and reviews apps), and editall [dmoz.org] who can edit everywhere or a catmod [dmoz.org] who can edit in all of "sports" or "business" or one major category may then review the site. A greenbuster [dmoz.org] may also be selected to go in and review sites.
It is generally the ability to edit according to the guidelines that earns greater access and not necessarily subject knowledge - a meta or editall is simply not going to be familiar with every topic of every website out there so if someone not familiar with a particular topic should decide to go through an unreviewed queue, it is particularly important that the submission conform to the guidelines and accurately reflects the content of the site so that it makes sense to someone not familiar with that particular topic.
It also may seem like an editor should be willing to take the time to make a submissions conform to whatever guidelines the directory has. Lots of people probably figure, I run a business/website so I'll just submit the site and let the editor take care of editing that is what they volunteered or get paid to do after all.
If an editor wants to build out a category, it only makes sense that they will accept submissions that do conform to the guidelines and are submitted to the correct category before spending 20 minutes to an hour or more trying to figure out what a site is about, what category it should be in and then trying to write an accurate description for something they may not be remotely familiar with.
Keep in mind that while the job of the editor may be to edit that there is no shortage of sites being submitted. Many at ODP have reviewed thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of sites. An editor is much more likely to review and list a site when the submission is to the correct category and it is apparent that whoever submitted it has read the listing guidelines.
While it is certainly no guarantee of inclusion or even faster inclusion, the odds of getting a site accepted are likely to be substantially improved if the correct category is chosen and the title and description follow the guidelines.
There was a thread in the supporters forum a while back (maybe a few of them) where people posted submissions to ODP that had not gotten in and when people posted what had been submitted, it appeared that few if any had looked at the general submission guidelines, let alone the guidelines for the category they hoped to get listed in. It was no wonder the sites were not listed.
If a company has been around for 100+ years & the site has valuable content, it sounds like something that would be beneficial to be listed in ODP and would be the kind of site a directory would want to include. If it is not just sitting in unreviewed somewhere, the title and description submitted or the category it was submitted to may be off and may be the reason it hasn't been listed.
Same thing for anyone who wants to be an editor. Focus on the basics. It may take a couple hours to find the right categor(ies for multiple sites for an editor app) or even for one site but if an ODP listing is that important it must certainly be worth the time to research it and do everything possible to increase the odds of obtaining a listing.